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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt says he knew concussions were a risk when he decided to play football, so he’s not any more alarmed by the studies of prolonged head trauma suffered by NFL players.
“I think there’s this big perception that players have been shocked by the concussion news that has come out,” Watt told The Associated Press Thursday at a Verizon event promoting the #minute50 VR Experience.
While head trauma in football comes as no surprise, the conversation intensified after the recent film, “Concussion,” which brought to light that some former players suffered from the asymptomatic brain disease Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, or CTE.
“While we are all learning a lot about and do understand there are serious implications that come with it, I don’t think any of us got into this game thinking we were not going to hit in our heads,” Watt said.
Watt actually says he expects it.
“I know for a fact that every time I go out to practice I am going to hit my head. It’s just like a firefighter knows he may have to go into a fire at some point, or a soldier knows he may get shot at some point,” Watt said.
He added: “You do everything you can to make sure that you are safe and that you are sound, but I’m not going to pretend that I didn’t know that was a possibility.”
Watt was in San Francisco for Super Bowl week, but will not attend the game. He still has a bitter taste from losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild card game.
“You never get that taste out of your mouth until you get to a Super Bowl, so I’m looking forward to get towards it again. That’s why I will never go until I play in one,” he said.
As for who will win this year’s game, Watt is leaning toward his former coach.
“It’s a really good matchup, honestly. But my former coaching staff is Gary Kubiak, Wade Phillips and those guys (in Denver), so I have a lot of respect and a lot of love for them. So I think it would be great if they won one,” Watt said.
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