With the 2017 season set to kick off Thursday night, the NFL and the NFL Players Association put to bed a lingering issue from 2016: Did Tom Brady suffer any concussions last season?
In a statement provided by NFL public relations director Brian McCarthy, the league and the players’ union said there was no evidence the Patriots quarterback had been concussed.
“The NFL and NFLPA have conducted comprehensive evaluations of the Concussion Protocol as it applied to Tom Brady during the 2016-17 season,” said the statement. “This review included an examination of all game film from every Patriots’ game last season, every report from the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultants and Booth ATC Spotters assigned to those games and Mr. Brady’s medical records, which were produced pursuant to a release signed by Mr. Brady.
“This review identified no evidence of any deviation from the Protocol by the Patriots’ medical staff or the Unaffiliated Neurotrauma Consultants assigned to Patriots’ games or any indication that Mr. Brady sustained a concussion or reported signs or symptoms consistent with having sustained a concussion.”
The concussion firestorm was ignited in May when Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, said during a television appearance that Brady had suffered one last season.
“I just have to say as a wife, I’m a little bit, it’s, as you know, it’s not the most, like, let’s say, unaggressive sport, right?’’ Bundchen said on “CBS This Morning.” “Football, like, he had a concussion last year. I mean, he has concussions pretty much every . . . you know, we don’t talk about it but he does have concussions.
“I don’t really think it’s a healthy thing for your body to go through, like, through that kind of aggression, like, all the time — that cannot be healthy for you, right?”
The issue lingered throughout the offseason, with Brady deflecting questions about his wife’s claim until training camp when he finally addressed it but didn’t clarify it.
“You know I don’t want to get into things that happened in my past, certainly medical history and so forth,” Brady said a day after his 40th birthday. “I really don’t think that’s anybody’s business, you know, what happened last year. I’m focused on this year and improvement and working on things I need to get better at.”
Brady, who is embarking on his 18th NFL season, has never been listed on an injury report with a head issue. He has been remarkably durable. He did miss 15 games of the 2008 season after suffering a knee injury in the opener but hasn’t missed any other games because of injury throughout his career.
Brady acknowledged this summer that he does pay attention to the research being conducted on the effects of concussions, particularly the Boston University study that revealed 110 of 111 deceased NFL players examined had some form of chronic traumatic encephalopathy.
“You’re not blind to it as a player,’’ Brady said. “That’s why I believe so much in being proactive with your health. I think when you’re a player and you see other players before you that did things a certain way and what’s transpired with their health or well-being and then you learn from it.’’
At the end of Wednesday’s statement, the league and the union urged players to be forthcoming if they feel they might be concussed.
“As a reminder,” it said, “under the NFL Concussion Protocol, the NFL and NFLPA encourage all players to report any signs or symptoms of concussion promptly and openly to their team medical staffs.’’