A former NFL player told a classroom full of Bibb County students he will undergo additional testing this summer for head injuries possibly caused by his football career.
Roger Jackson, a native of Macon's Unionville neighborhood, stopped by Weaver Middle School for part of a summer-enrichment session.
Gabrielle Dawkins had the chance to speak to Jackson and get his take on some of the dangers associated with playing football.
“It ain’t where you come from, it's where you finished,” said Jackson.
Roger Jackson said what you learn off the field is more important than what you learn on it.
“You guys have to realize your strength and your weaknesses and capitalize on it and make it work to your advantage,” said Jackson.
He was involved in organized sports since the age of 5, but he says this is the first time he has opened up about the dangers that can happen with a tackle..
“I'm forgetful. I have to write things down,” said Jackson. “I have to have people call me and remind me what I have to do.”
He says during the '70s, he played with bucket helmets without a cushion and that, like many players then, he was instructed to go for the head.
“Headshots -- if you can control the head, you can control the body,” said Jackson.
But it turned when his hardest tackle came from his own teammate.
“He came and he hit me from the side and my neck, head, and everything went that way (as he turns to the right),” said Jackson.
Over the past two years, Jackson says he noticed increased headaches, and last September, he took a NFL concussion test.
“People talk about the money that we're supposed to get," said Jackson. “I just want to be healthy. I'm 58 years old. I just want to live.”
In July, Jackson is scheduled for further testing and in the end the students sitting down and listening in Mrs. Stanley’s classroom walked away with lessons.
“That money and fame doesn't evolve around life and it's about getting the best education that you can get,” said student, Korey Ashley.
“Football can be fun, but you have to have the proper knowledge and education to be safe,” said student Cierra Symmonds.
The students in the class conducted a Socratic Seminar where they had to discuss whether they would let their child play football.
The results were mixed, some argued football was safe as long as you wear the proper gear while others thought it was a bit too risky.
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