By Ken Reed

Tom Brady’s wife says her husband hid concussions from the New England Patriots last season.

Drew Brees said he would conceal a concussion from his wife.

As Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins wrote recently:

“The problem is that they have signaled to four million high school and college football players that hiding symptoms is what the great ones do. . . .”

Brady and Brees are either ignorant about the issue of brain trauma and its impacts or simply overflowing with ego-based machismo.

But they’re adults, and deserve to make their own decisions regarding their health. The problem is the message they are sending to the millions of young high school and youth football players in this country. These youngsters’ brains haven’t fully developed yet, making them even more susceptible to serious brain injury than Brady and Brees are.

“We’re seeing an incredible lack of leadership among NFL players,” Chris Nowinski, co-founder and CEO of the Concussion Legacy Foundation says.

You might say, “What’s the big deal?”

Here’s a big reason why it’s a big deal: A study of college football players published in the Journal of Neurotrauma showed that only one in every six football concussions is actually diagnosed. That figure could very well be worse at the high school and youth football levels, where games are often played without trainers on the sidelines.

The NFL needs to do a better job educating its athletes.

And NFL players — especially the stars — must be more aware of the power of their words — positive and negative — on impressionable high school and youth football players.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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