Speaking in an interview with The New Republic published Tuesday, Obama -- who has two daughters -- said as a parent he'd be reluctant to let his child play football in an era when the game is becoming increasingly violent.
"I'm a big football fan, but I have to tell you if I had a son, I'd have to think long and hard before I let him play football," he told the magazine. "And I think that those of us who love the sport are going to have to wrestle with the fact that it will probably change gradually to try to reduce some of the violence."
The trade-off for fewer injuries would probably be less excitement, he conceded, but if the game were made safer, "those of us who are fans maybe won't have to examine our consciences quite as much."
The U.S. president said he's worried more about injuries to college players than to NFL players, who are "grown men" that are "well compensated for the violence they do to their bodies."