BOSTON (CBS) — Bill Belichick spoke to a throng of reporters at Patriots mandatory minicamp in rainy Foxboro on Tuesday. Unfortunately for the Patriots head coach, not all questions were about the weather.
Belichick fielded a series of questions on Tom Brady’s purported concussion history that Gisele Bundchen referred to in a recent interview. Brady has never been listed on the Patriots’ injury report with a concussion, but Gisele insinuated that her husband suffered a concussion during the 2016 season, and possibly “pretty much” every year.
When asked for his reaction to the story, Belichick paused before deferring to the Patriots’ injury reports.
“As you know Mike [Reiss], we file injury reports every week,” said Belichick. “Not sure when the next one’s due, maybe sometime in September, but we’ll have one for you then.”
When Reiss followed up with a question about the challenges of managing the complexities regarding the reporting of head injuries, Belichick responded “We file our [injury] reports in compliance with the league guidelines.”
In response to a third question, about whether he’s seen any progress from players self-reporting head injuries more often, Belichick responded: “Our medical staff really handles the injury situation with players. Players don’t come to me and I don’t treat them for injuries, that’s not really my job. That’s what we have a medical staff for.”
When asked about how important player safety is to him, particularly regarding concussions, Belichick said: “I’ve talked about that quite a bit. Our foundation supports that cause. Personally, I’ve spent a lot of time on it.”
The foundation in question is the Bill Belichick Foundation, which was established in 2013 to “provide coaching, mentorship, and financial support to individuals, communities, and organizations” in youth football and lacrosse leagues. The foundation partners with Safety Tag, an online platform aimed at assisting “non-medically trained volunteer coaches” in communicating with parents about players’ medical information.
In September 2016, the foundation and Safety Tag launched “Safe 2016” by holding a clinic for 180 Masconomet youth football players, parents, and coaches intended to educate them on player safety. The foundation most recently donated $20,000 worth of “new, safe gear” to various youth lacrosse programs across New England.
As for Brady and the Patriots, Belichick indirectly touched upon perhaps the biggest issue regarding concussions in the NFL: self-reporting. The best medical staffs and concussion spotters in the world mean little if players actively hide or deny concussion symptoms in an effort to stay on the field.
Brady himself has yet to address the topic with reporters, and it may not be the last time Belichick is asked about it, either.