In May, supermodel Gisele Bündchen said in an interview that her husband, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, “does have concussions.” This spurred a joint investigation by the NFL and NFLPA, which has unsurprisingly come to the conclusion that Tom Brady is just fine.
From the NFL’s statement:
There are no records that indicate that Mr. Brady suffered a head injury or concussion, or exhibited or complained of concussion symptoms.
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.
This statement will accomplish its goal, which is to get people to glance at it and be reassured that the NFL’s golden boy has not been touched by the game’s scariest boogey man. That’s bunk, though, because the NFL’s statement only says that Brady never reported any concussion symptoms and never exhibited any symptoms that could be identified by one of the league’s concussion spotters. This does not mean Brady has never had a concussion. Tom Brady has almost certainly had concussions.
As we’ve pointed out before, there is a difference between concussions, which are unavoidable in the NFL, and post-concussion syndrome, which has a very specific set of symptoms that sometimes do not manifest themselves until days after a concussive blow. Just because Brady has never reported those symptoms does not mean he has never suffered from them, and just because the NFL’s spotters have never seen him exhibit those symptoms in a game does not mean he’s never been concussed. Everyone who watches football understands this, even if the league would rather you didn’t.