In New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick’s first public comments since the wife of quarterback Tom Brady suggested he has suffered concussions in his career, Belichick offered very little information about whether the allegations are true.
“We file injury reports every week,” he told a group of reporters Tuesday at the team’s mandatory minicamp. “So I’m not sure when the next one’s due, probably sometime in September, but we’ll have one for you then.”
He reaffirmed that the team files reports in compliance with the league guidelines on concussions and other health-related matters.
When asked about whether he thought players were more likely to say when they didn’t feel right, Belichick responded with a deflection.
“You know our medical staff really handles the injury situation with players,” he said. “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 medical staff for.”
The issue surrounding Brady’s potential concussions came to light after his wife, Gisele Bundchen, sat down with CBS This Morning and told host Charlie Rose that Brady had a concussion as recently as last year during the team’s Super Bowl campaign.
“As you know, it’s not the most, let’s say ‘unaggressive’ sport. Right?” Bundchen said in the May 17 interview. “He had a concussion last year. I mean, he has concussions pretty much every — I mean, we don’t talk about — but he does have concussions.”
After Bundchen’s comments, the league announced it would look back into Brady’s medical records to see whether there were any reported cases of head trauma. The NFL revealed in a statement that it found nothing.
“We have reviewed all reports relating to Tom Brady from the unaffiliated neurotrauma consultants and certified athletic trainer spotters who worked at Patriots’ home and away 2016 season games as well as club injury reports that were sent to the league office,” an NFL spokesman said. “There are no records that indicate that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms.”
The league went on to say that it would speak with National Football League Players Association to get more information about the claims.
Since the potentially damning revelation came out, players around the league have said that players don’t always know when they have concussions or are unwilling to take themselves out of the game.
“Guys get concussions, they don’t tell the coaches,” former Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson said recently at his football camp. “It happens. I don’t tell the coach sometimes cause I know I got a job to do. The team needs me out there on the field. And sometimes you allow that to jeopardize yourself, but that’s just the nature of the world.”
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees said that the only time he suffered a concussion in 2004, a coach had to pull him out of the game because he wanted to play through it.
“It’s hard to change that mentality for guys,” he said on The Dan Patrick Show. “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 where you’ve got the independent neurological consultants and the trainers and the referees. Everybody’s supposed to be looking.”