Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports



Doctor Bennet Omalu, the neuropathologist and expert in the study of the effects of concussions who first discovered the degenerative brain disease chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), recently came out and said that letting our youth play football is akin to child abuse.

"Someday there will be a district attorney who will prosecute for child abuse, and it will succeed," said Omalu, who is currently San Joaquin County's chief medical examiner. "It is the definition of child abuse."

Omalu, whose life was dramatized in the movie "Concussion," has challenged parents to rethink allowing their children to play football and proclaims that the sport cannot be made safe.

"If you play football, and if your child plays football, there is a 100 percent risk exposure," Omalu said. "There is nothing like making football safer. That's a misnomer."

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On Thursday, San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan took time out of his day to join the "Murph & Mac" show on KNBR. The comments by Omalu were brought to his attention and it was the first time that Shanahan had heard them.

"That's always a concern," Shanahan said. "We're finding out more and more in this day and age about head injuries and things like that. I know I played football my entire life throughout college and stuff. It did a lot for me and it is a physical game. There are risks to it. I'm looking forward to when we can find out more about that. I think the better we can make this sport – which I think we're doing everything we can to do that.

"But you have things like that and that is concerning. But I also know through my own experience, football brought a lot to me. I feel safe doing it. I know if my kids ever want to play, that's something I would let them do. That's not something I'm going to pressure them to do or make them do, but if my son's ever interested in football – I had a lot of experience playing it also and I think it brought a lot of good things to my life. Not only did I enjoy playing it, but I think it helped me be a better man."

You can listen to the entire interview with Shanahan on KNBR.