San Diego physician: Chinese can play NFL

Updated: 2011-12-20 08:06

By Chen Xiangfeng (China Daily)

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SAN DIEGO, California - While Chinese enjoy watching the rough-and-tumble NFL, doubts remain about whether Asians are up to the actual physical rigors of the game.

However, Dr David Chao, head team physician of the San Diego Chargers, believes Chinese would be able to adapt to the game.

"The 'no' part is if you are not 6'4" and 310 pounds, you are probably not able to play at left tackle. So there is no question there is a size problem," Chao said.

"But the 'yes' part is there are certainly plenty of Chinese who are tall, big and strong. The problem is how to get them systematic training. Besides, also look at those big (NFL) guys, speed is very important. In some positions, speed, technique and training is a big portion of that even if you are not that big and strong.

"I do believe that Chinese could play in the NFL. You just have to train and work out. Look at other sports, the Chinese used to be poor at swimming and basketball. But once they began proper training, they have had good success."

He also said American football was not just for a certain body type or ethnic group.

"I do believe (Asians) have potential advantages in terms of speed and athleticism in certain positions. Certainly, they also have discipline and dedication. It's just a matter of having the dedication to try and train in a certain way and develop athletes in a certain way rather than a racial thing," Chao said.

There are lots of players in the NFL and also on our team, that do not have that (great) weight, height and speed but they do very well."

Ed McGuire, assistant general manager of Chargers, who is in charge of team operations - including scouting players, also hopes the sport can expand to more countries so NFL teams can recruit more players from places like Europe and Asia.

"We would love to consider every market, like the NBA and NHL, who have lots of player from all over the world. The NFL is yet to do that. Hopefully, we can expand globally. I hope some games will be played in China in the near future," he said.

"There have been some Europeans players who made it into the US in the past 20 years. Hopefully, we can keep developing the game globally with a talent base and players coming from different areas."

US-born Chinese Ed Wang, who played college football at Virginia Tech and was drafted by the Buffalo Bills in the 2010 NFL Draft, has proved that Chinese haves the capability to shine in the sport.

Wang's parents were track and field athletes for China at the 1984 Summer Olympics.

Wang was the first full-blooded ethnic Chinese player drafted by the NFL and can speak Mandarin. Previous NFL players of mixed Chinese descent included Walter Achiu, Timmy Chang, Patrick Chung and Kailee Wong.

China Daily