Wednesday’s most interesting bit of NFL news was broken by …. Gisele Bndchen, naturally.
The supermodel wife of New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady revealed that her husband has had multiple concussions during his career, including one suffered last season.
But this isn’t just gossip from a celebrity family it’s actually big news, for a couple reasons.
First, Brady has reportedly not been listed on any Patriots’ injury report with a concussion over the past four seasons, raising questions about the team’s transparency with serious injuries.
Second, the effect that repeated blows to the head have on current and former NFL players is still a relatively new topic of serious concern among NFL observers and medical professionals. From Junior Seau to Nick Buoniconti, we’ve seen too many horror stories about ex-pros over the past few years. (Brady, meanwhile, has said he hopes to continuing playing well into his 40s. He’s 39 now.)
“He had a concussion last year. He has concussions pretty much every … I mean, we dont talk about it. He does have concussions,” Bndchen said in an interview with CBS’ This Morning. “I dont really think its a healthy thing for a body to go through that kind of aggression all the time. That could not be healthy for you.”
Now this is where it gets complicated for a football fan and where it gets sad for anyone with a heart.
“Im planning on having him be healthy and do a lot of fun things when were like 100, I hope,” Bndchen added of her husband and the father of their two kids.
What immediately springs to mind after hearing that is anintimate, tragic profile of Buoniconti that Sports Illustrated recently published. A legend from the undefeated 1972 Miami Dolphins team, Buoniconti initially enjoyed a healthy and productive life after retiring from the NFL. But he began to decline precipitously over the past few years.
Now 76 years old, Buoniconti suffers from cognitive and mental health problems that all signs point to being due to his hard-hitting NFL career. He forgets how to hang up the phone. His wife has to help him use the bathroom. He has unpredictable mood swings, and tells the magazine he “feels lost” and “like a child.”
It wasn’t all that long ago that Buoniconti was cheered as a hero on the football field. Then new heroes legends like Tom Brady came along and we cheered for them as we left Buoniconti to his decline.
One certainly hopes Brady doesn’t go on to suffer even a fraction of what Buoniconti has gone through but what Gisele revealed Wednesday does make the discomforting hypothetical much more real.