Donald Trump mocked NFL concussion protocols by calling them “soft.”
During his campaign as the Republican presidential candidate, now president-elect, Trump showed a poor understanding of post-traumatic stress disorder at a rally on Oct. 12.
He went on to suggest that veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder are weak.
At the rally in Florida, Trump demonstrated a weak grasp of concussions and lashed out at the NFL, commenting on a woman who passed out in the crowd.
“That women was out cold, and now she’s coming back. We don’t go by these new, and very much softer, NFL rules. Concussions …’Oh, oh! Got a little ding on the head. No, no, you can’t play for the rest of the season.’ Our people are tough,” Trump said.
This is now the second time Trump has ridiculed the NFL for its increased awareness of brain injuries. At a rally in Iowa earlier this year, Trump made similar comments.
“Football’s become soft. Football’s become soft,” Trump repeated to the crowd. “But football’s become soft like our country has become soft,” he added to cheers and head nods by the crowd.
Trump also made a remark regarding the the league’s concussion protocols.
“What used to be considered a great tackle, a violent head-on (tackle). … You used to see these tackles, and it was incredible to watch, right?” Trump said.
Chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, causes brain degeneration that leads to memory loss, depression, confusion, impaired motor skills and a host of other side effects.
Trump believes concussions are a laughing matter for him to exploit. However, for NFL players worrying about their health and their families’ security, head injuries are no joke.
Players from around the league reacted to Trump’s comments. One of the players who spoke on the issue was Calvin Pryor, a 24-year-old safety for the New York Jets.
“That’s very disrespectful for him to even speak on that matter,” Pryor said. “Guys who go out there and risk their lives and play for greater things, just to say some foolishness like that, man, it’s not right. It’s kind of sickening, honestly.”
Michael Kaplen, a George Washington University Law School professor specializing in brain injuries, shared his thoughts on Trump’s remarks.
“Donald Trump, in a matter of seconds, has managed to disparage each and every one of these individuals,” said Kaplen. “This just demeans and disparages people with brain injuries and disparages the whole movement of concussion awareness, concussion protocol.”
The NFL has created more stringent rules with regard to concussions after a lawsuit about head injuries reached its conclusion in April 2015. In the end, the league settled with a coalition of former players to pay out $1 billion.
Trump’s argument might trivialize serious brain injuries, but regardless, his baseless statements will likely resonate with those who believe the “liberal media” is engaged in a “war on football.”