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Osi Umenyiora: Strong chance I’ll be in a wheelchair when I’m 45

Osi Umenyiora

New York Giants defensive end Osi Umenyiora (72) practices with the team for the first time during NFL football training camp, Monday, Aug. 15, 2011, East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Osi Umenyiora is the latest NFL player to wade into the debate about the safety of football and whether parents should allow their children to play it. And Umenyiora feels the same ambivalence that so many players feel: He loves the game and will continue playing it, even as he wonders if it will leave him disabled for most of his post-retirement life.

Responding to Kurt Warner’s contradictory comments about whether or not he’d want his sons to play football, and the subsequent criticism of Warner from other former NFL players, and then the subsequent criticism of Warner’s critics from still other former players, Umenyiora wrote on Twitter that he’s with Warner in terms of concern about his own children playing football. And Umenyiora also has concerns about his own future health. But Umenyiora isn’t about to quit.

“Kurt Warner is Right to think how he is thinking about his kids and football,” Umenyiora wrote. “Its an awesome game and has done a lot for me, but i know when im 45 there is a strong chance il be in a wheelchair. If i can avoid that for my son, i will. But if he wants to play i wont stop him.”

It would be interesting to know how many of the 1,500 or so former players currently suing the NFL would have said the same thing during their playing days. Most NFL players are content to accept the possibility of serious injury so that they can play an awesome game.