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Tom Brady says concussion protocols should start with prevention

The NFL’s ongoing concussion issue is among the topics Brady discussed Monday on his weekly podcast.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) rolls out as he works to complete a pass in the fourth quarter Sunday night against the Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium. Kansas City won, 41-31.
Bucs quarterback Tom Brady (12) rolls out as he works to complete a pass in the fourth quarter Sunday night against the Chiefs at Raymond James Stadium. Kansas City won, 41-31. [ DIRK SHADD | Times ]
Published Oct. 4

Even as his own team faces probing questions about concussion protocols, Tom Brady tackled the issue Monday on his weekly podcast, making two distinct points.

One, concussions are part of life in any violent contact sport. And second, any modifications to the NFL’s concussion protocols should start with prevention.

“I think those (protocols) are all being evaluated, no doubt. But at the same time, again, I think so much is focused kind of on the aftermath of that,” Brady told host Jim Gray on his “Let’s Go!” podcast.

“What can we do in advance in order to help us athletes be in a position where we can deal with the physical elements of sports? Because you’re not going to be able to take them out of sports. That’s just not the reality. If you want to play two-hand touch football, there’s not going to be a lot of people that tune in.”

The NFL and NFL Players Association agreed to update concussion protocols after Dolphins quarterback Tua Tagovailoa sustained frightening injuries in back-to-back games only four days apart. Then on Sunday night, Bucs tight end Cameron Brate remained on the field and was targeted three times by Brady after a violent collision with teammate Chris Godwin.

“I watch boxing and I watch UFC, and people are knocked out quite a bit. That’s part of playing these very physical sports, and all of them come with risks associated with it,” Brady said.

“No one ever wants to see anyone get hurt, no one ever wants to see anyone injured, no one ever wants to see a concussion ... but they happen. And I think, how do we deal with them in the best possible way? What are the best practices associated with prevention of them, as well as, if you do get them how do you recover as quickly as possible?

“So I think that should really be a focus as well. How you implement those protocols for athletes is something that we should all think about so we can do a better job in the future.”

Preventive measures mentioned by Brady, 45, include better nutrition, optimal hydration, exercise and proper recovery. A greater emphasis on such habits, he suggested, could lessen the lingering effects (arthritis, chronic pain, etc.) associated with an NFL career.

The problem? All require consistent discipline, a sticking point for many.

“You have to allocate time to prevention,” he said. “It’s not necessarily the way that humans are wired, though. Humans don’t want to take time in advance to prevent something that could become a problem in the future. So I think you have to put education around, ‘What do I need to do to prevent long-term pain?’”

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Other topics addressed Monday by Brady:

His shoulder, which he appeared to injure Sunday night after being sacked by Chiefs cornerback L’Jarius Sneed (and fumbling):

“My shoulder’s doing OK, just some bumps and bruises. I kind of took a hit there on it, got some treatment (Monday), got a little bit (Sunday) night, so I’m sure I’ll be fine in the end. Thank God for (longtime trainer) Alex (Guerrero), who’s always taken good care of me.”

The Bucs’ struggles in the run game (3 rushing yards on six attempts Sunday night):

“I think a lot of it comes down to playing from behind, where you become one-dimensional and you throw the ball so much. But at the same time, we need to be productive when we do run it. So getting ourselves in the right run play, getting our guys the right angles and the right opportunities to have some confidence that we can make yards when you hand the ball off.”

Hurricane Ian’s impact on Florida:

“So many people in Florida unfortunately lost so much. And I know everyone on our team and that’s a part of the Tampa community are going to do what they can to help all the victims of a really tough event. So it was a huge storm, it made a huge, unfortunate impact on the state and it’s going to take a long time for people to kind of rebuild their lives. So it’s a unique challenge for our team. It’s a unique challenge for the community. It’s an unfortunate challenge for the state and for our country.”

His favorite dessert:

“Key lime pie, baby. That’s my No. 1.”

On watching his son Jack, a high school free safety/quarterback:

“I could never imagine him being in high school. I never imagined him playing football, so getting out there and watching him play is so much fun for me. And I don’t give a s--t how well he does, I just love watching him and seeing him enjoy it with his friends.”

On whether Jack is a better athlete than him at this stage, or a grinder like his dad:

“He’s a grinder and he’s a very good athlete; great hand-eye coordination. He actually moves better than I did at his age.”

Contact Joey Knight at jknight@tampabay.com. Follow @TBTimes_Bulls.

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