The revelation that New England Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady may have suffered several undisclosed concussions, including one last year during the team’s Super Bowl campaign, continues to raise questions about the safety and concussion protocols of the NFL.
In an interview with CBS This Morning on Wednesday, Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, suggested that Brady has had concussions throughout his career that went unreported.
“As you know, it’s not the most, let’s say ‘unaggressive’ sport. Right?” Bundchen told host Charlie Rose. “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.”
According to his medical records, Brady was not listed as having suffered a concussion at any point in 2016. In fact, he has had no official concussion or head injury listed in his career. The Patriots only reported Brady suffering from leg, thigh and ankle injuries in 2016.
“I don’t really think it’s a healthy thing for your body to go through that kind of aggression all the time. That could not be healthy for you, right?” Bundchen added. “And I’m planning on having him be healthy and do a lot of fun things when we’re, like, 100, I hope.”
Bundchen was responding to a question about Brady’s interview on SiriusXM NFL Radio in February in which the 39-year-old said that his wife wanted him to retire.
“If it was up to my wife, she would have me retire today,” Brady said at the time. “She told me that last night three times. And I said, ‘Too bad, babe, I’m having too much fun right now.’ You know, I feel like I can still do it. If you love what you do and you’re capable of doing it, then I might be so bored if I wasn’t going out there knowing that I could still do it. So I’m going to work hard to be ready to go, and I still plan on playing for a long time.”
NFL Launches Probe to Investigate Brady Concussions
The league, which has increasingly taken a serious approach to all claims of unreported concussions after facing thousands of lawsuits from former players, said it launched a probe into the claims.
On Wednesday, the NFL released a statement saying that it had reviewed Brady’s medical records and could not find any incidence of head injuries.
“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 also said it would be in contact with the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) to get more information from the team’s medical staff.
NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith gave a response in a tweet from reporter Jill Sorenson.
“Our Union has taken the proactive steps to address the issue of player health and safety — concussions in particular — during the past several years,” he said. “We are united with players and their families to raise greater awareness, improve medical care and protocols, and above all, to offer them with support. Of course, we will proceed with our process as normally would for any player, but we are equally proud of our leadership in this area for our members and for athletes at every level of sport.
Brady Encouraged to Come Forward with the Truth
While experts say it’s possible players simply don’t know they have concussions or may be confusing it with something else, others are encouraging Brady to help combat the stigma of reporting concussions.
“By not revealing it, hiding from it, it contributes to, one, the stigma surrounding it, and, two, the notion that it’s no big deal,” Mark Herceg, who is chair of the Westchester County Concussion Task Force, said to Yahoo Sports. “That can be dangerous over time, especially for younger kids.”
By hiding violations, the Patriots could be on the hook for fines and other disciplinary matters, but Herceg told Yahoo Sport’s Eric Adelson that not talking about it is part of the problem.
“I think when it comes to anything related to brain injury, however minor it may be, people get scared and don’t want to address it,” he said. “They think if they don’t think about it, it will go away. No other part of the body or injury is handled this way.”
Neither Brady nor the Patriots have made any comments about the claims.