Favre becomes the latest face of football-related brain injury

Former NFL quarterback Brett Favre has a lot of fans here in Orange County and across the country. Now he has become the latest former pro football player to come forward with his story of how years of hits on the field have affected him.

In a recent radio interview, while discussing rumors that the St. Louis Rams had asked him to join their team, Favre, who last played for the Minnesota Vikings, said that he was not going to come out of retirement and take more beatings on the field. He talked about the memory loss he suffers from his years playing pro ball.

Favre retired from the game in 2010 after a hit so hard that he forgot what team he had been playing against. He says he doesn’t even know how many concussions he had during his career because they were not documented for the first decade that he played.

A physician specializing in head trauma at UCLA says that memory loss is common as people who have had multiple concussions age. He says that while physicians used to believe that unless a person had been knocked unconscious, they hadn’t suffered a concussion, in reality, about 90 percent of concussion victims were never unconscious.

Favre, who was sacked 525 times during his pro football career, says that he realized how serious his memory loss was when he learned that his daughter had played youth soccer one summer. He says he cannot remember her playing more than a couple of games.

Although Favre has not indicated that he has any other symptoms of brain injury beyond memory loss, the 44-year-old says he has no idea what the effects will be as he gets older. Experts say that symptoms of brain injury can begin as early as months after an injury, or as long as decades later.

Steps have been taken by schools and sports organizations to help protect players at all levels, from high school and even younger through the professional leagues to try to minimize the chances of traumatic brain injury. However, sometimes those precautions fall by the wayside during a hard-fought game. It is up to parents, coaches, and even fans to help insure the safety of student athletes, and to take action immediately if they believe their child has been injured due to the negligence or the actions of coaches or other officials.

Source:  CBS News, “Brett Favre’s memory loss spotlights known concussion symptom” Michelle Castillo, Oct. 25, 2013