Tom Brady weighs in on concussion risks

Tom Brady on concussions

In this extended excerpt from his conversation with "CBS This Morning" co-anchor Norah O'Donnell, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady talked about the hazards of concussions and the "preventive" approaches he takes to protecting himself from brain injuries.

In his new book,  "The TB12 Method: How to Achieve a Lifetime of Sustained Peak Performance"  (published by Simon & Schuster, a CBS company), Brady writes that playing professional football is like "getting in a car crash every Sunday."

O'Donnell asked, "Do you worry about concussions?"

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"I don't worry about 'em, no," he replied. "I mean, I'm not oblivious to 'em. I mean, I understand the risks that, you know, come with the contact sports and the physical nature of our game. But again, I try to take these preventative approaches to limit, you know, whatever ramifications those may cause.

"Now, do I have all the answers for those? Absolutely not. I don't think anyone does. But if I take this proactive approach to it, I do feel like, you know, all these other treatments that I've done on my body have really worked. And I do want to continue to think about my head the same way.

"So, I do focus on a lot of treatment for my head and neck, certainly for my shoulders, along with the rest of my body, in order to try to absorb those forces I'm gonna face, you know, in a much better way.

"And I'll tell you why: because when you're an athlete -- and again, I've looked around in the locker room for a long period of time and, you know, I read everything like everybody else, I see what athletes of the past, what their future looks like, you know, and you try to learn from those things … some of my idols had to retire because of head injuries -- so, I thought, wow, what can you do for those? How can you start thinking about head injuries in a preventative way if I still am gonna play this sport that I love? That's what I've tried to think about."

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"Do you think all the studies that have come out about concussions affects the future of the NFL?" O'Donnell asked.

"I don't know," Brady replied. "I mean, who knows? I don't know what the future is gonna look like, you know, and I'm not gonna pretend to predict it.

"But I mean, football is an incredible game. It requires so much discipline. And are there things that come with football that, yeah, you'd rather not experience? Of course. But that's life. I mean, there's negatives to skiing. There's negatives to doing a lot of really great activities. But  are you not gonna try anything in life because of the downside? Or are you gonna say, 'Okay, well, I understand my risk, but the rewards far outweigh, you know, what the risks may be'?"

Brady said that, while he is conscious of the dangers in football, his love for the sport makes him want to keep playing. "And I'm gonna do everything I can to take care of my body in advance of the hits that I'm gonna take on Sunday."

O'Donnell asked, "There are many analysts that say you are the greatest quarterback of all time. How do you rank yourself?"

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"I'm not good with things like that," he said. "I feel like I've done a great job to maximize what my potential was. You know, there were some incredible players. There are guys that could do things that I could never do, you know, in terms of the way they throw the ball or how they move in the pocket and how they escape and the way they play.

"I mean, I play with, you know, the best coach of all time. I mean, that's pretty lucky for any player! I've played with some incredible players over the course of my career that have come together to form this great team.

"And all those players -- I mean, there's too many mention, but I've played with this offensive line that always has protected me. And their sole responsibility for the entire course of my career has been to protect me. So, are there a lot of other players that I feel that if they were in my position, knowing all the things that I've known, could accomplish similar things? Absolutely. I absolutely do. And I feel like I'm very blessed to be the one that got to do those things."

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