Brett Favre on concussions: 'There's a lot of fear'

Richard Ryman
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Brett Favre talks to members of the media before the Lee Remmel Sports Awards Banquet on Wednesday, August 9, 2017, at the Swan Club in De Pere, Wis.
Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin

DE PERE – Brett Favre can be a pretty funny guy, but when talk turns to concussions and their effect, he's deadly serious.

"I did something for a long time that is probably not in the best interest of long-term health," Favre said Wednesday before the Lee Remmel Sports Awards banquet. "You don’t necessarily think about it while you’re playing, even though you know there might be the repercussions. But when you leave the game, and all this talk with head injuries, you go, 'Oh my gosh, what am I up against?' So, yeah, there’s a lot of fear."

Former NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason said this week that all NFL players probably have some level of  chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a neurological disease which can cause dementia, violent behavior and suicide. It is caused by repeated blows to the head.

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While the NFL said more research is needed, the league is currently paying out a $1 billion lawsuit to former players and wives of deceased former players. The suit, filed in 2011, said the league didn't warn former players about the dangers of concussions.

Favre invested in a company that is developing a drug designed to treat concussions when they occur. Dr. Jacob VanLandingham is developing a nasal spray undergoing clinical trials. It is designed to reduce swelling immediately after a concussion. 

"There is nothing out there that can treat a concussion. It’s all about trying to prevent one. As we know, you can’t prevent a concussion 100 percent," Favre said. "You can only do so much with helmets, equipment, tackling."

The Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback has two grandsons and a third on the way and he's not going to push them to play football.

"I'd be very, very against my son, if I had a son, playing football, because of a fear of what's to come," he said. 

Favre, 47, said he had a great career — leading the Packers to two Super Bowls and winning one, as well as setting the NFL record for most consecutive starts — but he didn't do himself any favors. He suffered a concussion on his last NFL play, the only time he was knocked out, if only briefly.

"When I retired, yeah I had a concussion. I am wondering, 55, what is life going to be like? Sixty? If I make it that long.

"Right now I can’t complain."


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