By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Gisele Bundchen generated some headlines this week when she said that her husband, one Mr. Tom Brady, suffered a concussion last year and suffers concussions often on the football field.
Fellow quarterback Drew Brees said that would never happen to him.
Brees was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show, and he was asked if he ever tells his wife if he’s feeling “dinged” or like he had his “bell rung.”
“No,” Brees answered confidently. “I wouldn’t want her to worry.”
When asked specifically for his thoughts on Bundchen’s comments about Brady’s concussion, Brees did not offer a direct opinion.
“I have no comment about that,” he said. “That’s their business.”
Brees, who came into the league in 2001, spoke to the mentality of a football player when it comes to dealing with a concussion. He shared a story of his one documented concussion, which took place in 2004. Even then, Brees said he didn’t want to come out of the game, despite knowing he suffered a concussion. It wasn’t until a coach removed him that he stepped off the field.
“If it wasn’t for [a coach], I wasn’t pulling myself out of the game,” Brees told Patrick. “And that’s why it’s hard to change that mentality for guys. When you’re in the heat of the moment, the heat of the battle, and it’s competitive, you do not want to pull yourself out. And so that’s why the concussion protocols are in place.”
Brees was honest in his answers, but his final comment showed that when it comes to education about brain trauma, NFL players typically don’t want to know all of the information available.
“[The concussion protocol deems that] if it’s deemed that this is serious enough, then you’re out until further notice,” Brees said. “At times, like we’ve seen with Luke Kuechly and some other guys, that hey, we’ll sit them for three or four weeks to make sure that they’re completely healed before they go back out there again.”
Brains don’t always “completely heal” after suffering some of the trauma that is inflicted on an NFL field, and certainly, three or four weeks is generally not enough time for a “complete” healing. Sometimes, the damage is permanent — especially for professional football players who have sustained thousands of hits to the head over their careers.
Alas, the Gisele comments have at least brought to the forefront the issue of concussions in football. And we now know that in the Brees household, any mention of brain injuries is taboo.