We all know the NFL has a concussion problem.
Saints quarterback Drew Brees shed some light on the player perspective on this issue with some slightly disturbing statements on Thursday’s episode of The Dan Patrick Show. Brees declined to talk about Gisele Bundchen’s revelation that Patriots quarterback and five-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady, her husband, had an unreported concussion last season.
However, Brees did discuss how he would handle a concussion with his wife, Brittany. Without hesitating, Brees said he would not tell her:
“No. I wouldn’t want her to worry.”
Brees said the idea of self-reporting concussions presents a “gray area” for NFL players as competitors who hate the idea of leaving a game. He shared a story of his only documented concussion back in 2004 when he played for the Chargers:
“I obviously remember the event, the hit and everything. And I knew that something was not right, and I knew that I was concussed. But I didn’t take myself out of the game. I stayed in the game and played as long as I could until finally a coach pulled me aside and was like, ‘I’m looking out for you here and you’re not gonna play anymore because I know something’s not right.’ And so if it wasn’t for him, I wasn’t pulling myself out of the game.
“And that’s why it’s hard to change that mentality for guys. When you’re in the heat of the moment, heat of the battle and it’s competitive, you do not want to pull yourself out. That’s why the concussion protocols are in place.”
And that’s one big reason why the NFL’s concussion problem keeps on churning. When a concussion gets spotted, the protocol measures can work. But it’s not always easy to know when a concussion occurs, and even when some players know something’s wrong, their competitive side may win out.