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Kurt Warner revisits stance on kids playing football

Kurt Warner turned heads in May when he admitted to having reservations about his sons pursuing a career in football.

The former quarterback for the St. Louis Rams, New York Giants and Arizona Cardinals is a household name because he played the game at the highest level, but Warner stands by his comments from six months ago -- with an open mind.

Warner told Around the League he's encouraged by the progress being made in the area of head injuries from the youth arena on up through the NFL. Two of his sons currently play Pop Warner, forcing Warner to balance his love of watching his boys compete with his natural concerns as a father.

"I was encouraged after watching my boys play football this year, with all the precautions taken specifically for head injuries and concussions," Warner said. "To see a number of boys sitting out and how cautious the medical staffs were as soon as there was any kind of question in regards to a head injury -- the boys weren't allowed to play or go back in until they had been cleared -- that was encouraging.

"Does it eliminate my fears about my boys going out to play and take those kind of hits? No, I still have those concerns, but you have to balance them as a parent. I enjoy watching my boys play ... but at the same time, when my boys get hit, I just take a deep breath and make sure that they get up and they're healthy and they're going back to the huddle. So there's still that concern and that thought process."

Warner, of course, regularly talks about football for NFL Network. Some have questioned how he can promote a sport he isn't certain his own children should play, but Warner believes there's room for healthy questioning and debate about football safety.

"Just because I love the game, and because I appreciate it, and I'm a huge fan of it -- and it did so much for my life -- does not mean that as a parent, I can just be oblivious to what comes with it," Warner said. "To me, it's ignorant to have people comment and say, 'OK, because it did so much for you, throw your kids out there, forget about the concerns and just go with it. Because it was good to you, so you shouldn't have any concerns or you shouldn't speak out about those things.' To me, that's ridiculous.

"To me, I'm a fan of the game. I love the game. I want to see the game last forever, so I'm going to speak out, and I'm not going to hide the realistic parts of the game that not only I have (concerns about), but that parents across the country have. You can't hide from those, you have to be out in front, you have to be straight-forward with those things, in an attempt to get people to get educated, to have knowledge, to be hands-on with their kids."

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.

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