Did the NFL's Poster Boy Suffer an Unreported Concussion?

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Did the NFL's Poster Boy Suffer an Unreported Concussion?

In an interview with “CBS This Morning”, Gisele Bundchen claimed her husband, New England Patriots’ quarterback Tom Brady, suffered an undiagnosed concussion last season.

“He had a concussion last year. He has concussions pretty much every—I mean, we don’t talk about it. He does have concussions,” Bundchen said.

Following interview’s airing, both Brady and his agents declined the claim that he had a concussion during the 2016 season.

The NFL has faced a great deal of criticism for conflicts of interest when it comes to diagnosing injuries. In January, the league officially settled a lawsuit with hundreds of former players—and families of players—who suffered head injuries without being properly cautioned of the the risks associated with concussions and head injuries sustained during play.

Since 2010, the NFL has implemented rule changes to decrease the risk of head injuries. “Defenseless players,” players who cannot protect themselves in the open field, are not allowed to be tackled above the shoulders, and touchbacks on kickoffs have been moved from the 20 yard line to the 25 yard line to encourage teams to avoid taking unnecessary risks.

Football, however, is still an inherently dangerous sport. The NFL says the number of concussions fell by 11.3 percent from the 2015 season to the 2016 season, but the NFL has had a history of players returning to games when they’re clearly suffering from the effects of a concussion, such as in 2015 2015, when quarterback Case Keenum was concussed, but remained in the game.

If Brady did in fact suffer a concussion during the 2016 season, it would be yet another mark against the NFL’s safety reputation.

Photo: Keith Allison, CC-BY

Savannah McCoy is a freelance journalist based in Athens, Georgia. She is an avid sports fan and Game of Thrones junkie. Valar Morghulis.

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