Legendary athlete Bo Jackson on concussions: 'I would have never played football'

Legendary athlete Bo Jackson, once a Pro Bowl running back, made a startling confession in an interview with USA Today's Bob Nightengale.

Knowing what people know now about the health risks associated with concussions, Jackson said if he could go back, he wouldn't play football.

"If I knew back then what I know now, I would have never played football," Jackson said.

"Never. I wish I had known about all of those head injuries, but no one knew that. And the people that did know that, they wouldn't tell anybody."

Jackson continued, saying he would never let his kids play football.

"The game has gotten so violent, so rough. We're so much more educated on this CTE [chronic traumatic encephalopathy] stuff, there's no way I would ever allow my kids to play football today. Even though I love the sport, I'd smack them in the mouth if they said they wanted to play football. I'd tell them, 'Play baseball, basketball, soccer, golf, just anything but football.'"

Jackson played four years in the NFL, running for over 2,700 yards and 16 touchdowns while receiving over 300 yards with two touchdowns. He's the only athlete to ever play in an NFL Pro Bowl and an MLB All-Star game.

%shareLinks-quote="If I knew back then what I know now, I would have never played football." type="quote" author="Bo Jackson" authordesc="Former NFL player" isquoteoftheday="false"%

Jackson, who on Saturday will receive the Scouts Dream Award at the 14th annual Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation, said he doesn't regret leaving baseball to try football, however.

"I still wouldn't change a thing. The man upstairs had a plan of the way of working things out, and they did. I have no regrets."

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