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Children should not be playing tackle football, says Packers great Brett Favre as he fears HE may have C.T.E. after suffering 'thousands' of concussions

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 4/12/2018 Alex Raskin


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Retired Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre does not believe tackle football is safe for children and fears that he may be suffering the long-term effects from 'probably thousands' of concussions over his 20-year career.

As he explained to Megyn Kelly on Thursday’s show, the 48-year-old Favre does not know if he suffers from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – the degenerative brain disease linked to concussions, which can only be diagnosed posthumously – but he has been showing troubling signs.

'Simple words that normally would come out easy in a conversation, I'll stammer,' said Favre, who played in 321 straight NFL games - a record for quarterbacks. 'Look, I'm 48 years old. Having played 20 years, could it just be, as we all like to say, we get a little bit older? Yeah, I forgot my keys and they were in my hand. Where are my glasses, and they're on your head. You know, I wonder if that's what it is, or do I - do I have early stages of C.T.E.? I don't know.'

As he explained to Megyn Kelly on Tuesday’s show, the 48-year-old Bretty Favre does not know if he suffers from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), but he has been showing signs

Favre played in a record 321 consecutive NFL games during his 20-year career 

And while he told Kelly that he does not regret playing, Favre has stated publicly that if he had a son, he would dissuade him from trying tackle football.

'If I had a son myself, I suppose I could make him not play, but I would really, really strongly discourage him from playing,' said Favre in a recent documentary he produced titled 'Shocked.'

'That seems to surprise people when I tell them that. "So what? You're iron man,"' he continued. 'I can only hope and pray that at 55 or 60, I don't suffer the same things that some of these other guys that were portrayed in movies suffered.' 

Fave hopes that a new nasal inhaler, Prevacus, which is waiting for approval can help prevent the effects of concussions on children. 

However, he doesn't see any way to make contact sports completely safe for kids. 

'This drug, if it can ever get approved and used, I think it will greatly help long-term health,' he said. 'We're never gonna stop concussions, and I think the brain and the skull itself [in children and teenagers] is not developed enough and they should not be playing tackle football.'   

When asked how many concussions he suffered during his career, Favre was unsure. 

'That I know of, three, four, maybe,' he said. 'As we're learning about concussions, there's a term that is often used in football, and maybe in other sports, that I got "dinged." 

'As [concussion expert Dr. Bennet Omalu], who was portrayed by Will Smith in the movie "Concussion" has said, "dinged" is a concussion. When you have ringing of the ears, seeing stars, that's a concussion. If that is a concussion, I've had hundreds, probably thousands throughout my career, which is frightening.'

Favre said always had a long memory as a player and could even remember plays and different defensive looks from his high school days in Mississippi. But the problem he's running into more frequently is short-term memory issues, which are often linked with concussions. 

The former Southern Mississippi star is also concerned with his future. 

Many deceased football players, such as New England Patriots tight end Aaron Hernandez and San Diego Chargers linebacker Junior Seau, were later revealed to have advanced stages of C.T.E., which likely contributed to their suicides.

'You know, the thing about C.T.E. and head injuries is, I'll have someone say, "Man, you look like you're in great shape, taking good care of yourself." I say, "thank you, I'm trying to do my best."

'The thing about what little we know about the brain, the injuries and C.T.E., is that tomorrow could be totally different,' he continued. 'Tomorrow, I may be in great health, but I don't know who I am or where I'm going. It can happen overnight. I know it's not as dramatic as that, but that's the scary thing. No matter what I do to try to take care of myself physically, that is a part of my future that I really can't control.'

Favre joined Kelly’s show via satellite while other athletes such as former St. Louis Rams quarterback Kurt Warner, retired U.S. soccer star Amy Wambach, and former Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross discussed the impact concussions have had on their lives. 

Wambach, like many other athletes, agreed to donate her brain for medical testing after her death. 

'I think that it's just like the only thing I can do at this point to be able to give back to the world and be able to get more information so that we can give that information to our young kids, so they can make the best decisions, and the parents can make the best decisions for their future, for their brain health,' Wambach said. 

'Studies show girls suffer concussions at rates higher than boys and recover slower in the same sport, like soccer' she continued. 'Through your career, you were asked, when the research started to come out about the danger of concussions, about concussions, you always were quick to dismiss it or make light of it.' 

The recently retired Wambach finished her career with a record 184 international goals, roughly 40 percent of which were scored on headers. 

When she was younger, using her head seemed normal, but now Wambach is left wondering if she's caused herself any long-term damage. 

'That was a real naïve kid who didn’t really want to face the truth about what her current situation was,' she said. 'And I think a lot of athletes that are still playing feel the exact same way, you don’t want to know because you are in it. 

'You have to pay your mortgage, you are representing your country or your club, vying for this championship and you have worked your whole life for it. And as you get closer to your retirement and then you get into your retirement, that is when you start really thinking about, what have I done here.' 

Ross, a journeyman catcher who played for both the Cubs and Red Sox, estimates he had over 20 concussions over the course of his career, most of which were caused by home plate collisions.

'Looking back I probably had, probably in the twenties I would say of where same thing, dinged, a little foggy today, not really feeling like myself,' said Ross, who now works as a broadcaster for ESPN. 

And while he likely suffered fewer concussions than Favre, Ross confessed that he is already having short-term memory issues at just 41. 

'The memory stuff for me, it sounds simple, but same thing, forgetting,' he said. 'I was driving home one day, picking up a friend from the airport and I was supposed to swing by and pick up my daughter from school and I showed up at the house and my wife said, "where is our daughter?"'

Ross also admitted to having problems controlling his anger at times, which is a symptom of C.T.E.

Once he nearly grew violent after being cut off in traffic.

'My kids and wife were in the car,' he said. 'It was one of the scariest moments looking back. My wife touched me, like, "hey, you need to calm down." I was in a bad place. It definitely - your mind is working overtime. The irritability is a real thing. Thing in crowds, I get a little bit of - like a busy crowd, a lot going on with the eyes and the brain, get a little anxious.'

The 46-year-old Warner was already outspoken on the dangers of contact sports, admitting in 2012 that the idea of his sons playing football scared him.  

However, he and Kelly's other panelists are encouraged by the new drug, Prevacus, which is currently being tested. It comes in a nasal spray and is aimed at reducing edema, inflammation, and oxidative stress for anyone who may have suffered a traumatic brain injury.

'When you talk about Prevacus, and you talk about why are you involved? I feel that I have to be involved,' said Warner, who won a Super Bowl with the Rams and lost another with the Arizona Cardinals. 'It is something that is out there, it is groundbreaking, it is something that can change the complexion of things. I don’t think I am going to ever be able to tell my kid, well you can’t play, or literally pull them off the field. But I want to have something there, that if they do suffer an injury.' 

According to neuroscientist Jacob Vanlandingham, the spray is used immediately after a head collision. 

'We give it nasally through this applicator here,' he said. 'We're able to get it into the brain in less than five minutes. It diffuses throughout regions of your brain in 30 minutes.'

Related slideshow: 20 most devastating losses in NFL history (Photos by Touchdown Wire)


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