NFL great Favre fears 'thousands' of concussions

Los Angeles (AFP) –


Former Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre said Thursday he may have suffered "thousands" of concussions as he revealed his struggle with possible long-term effects of his 20-year NFL career.

The 48-year-old told NBC television's 'Megyn Kelly Today' show that although he was only formally diagnosed with a handful of concussions, he believes the actual number was far greater.

"That I know of, three, four, maybe," Favre said when asked how many times he was concussed. "There's a term that is often used in football, and maybe in other sports, that I got 'dinged.'

"When you have ringing of the ears, seeing stars, that's a concussion. If that is a concussion, I've had hundreds, probably thousands throughout my career, which is frightening."

Favre, who played 321 straight games during his career -- a record for a quarterback -- retired from the NFL in 2010.

Favre said he only became aware about the possible long-term health risks of head injuries in the NFL towards the end of his career.

He said he was uncertain about whether he suffers from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) -- which cannot be diagnosed in living people -- but revealed he suffered symptoms that caused alarm, such as short-term memory loss and occasional speech difficulties.

"Simple words that normally would come out easy in a conversation, I'll stammer," said Favre. "I'm 48 years old. Having played 20 years, could it just be, as we all like to say, we get a little bit older?

"Yeah, I forgot my keys and they were in my hand. Where are my glasses, and they're on your head. You know, I wonder if that's what it is. Or do I have early stages of CTE? I don't know."

Favre, who has said if he had a son he would dissuade him from playing tackle football, nevertheless said he did not regret his career.

"My football career has provided a lot of things to me. It's kind of a blessing and a curse," he said.

However he admitted although he was in good physical health, he lived with the fear that his condition could suddenly deteriorate.

"You know, the thing about CTE and head injuries is, I'll have someone say, 'Man, you look like you're in great shape, taking good care of yourself.' I say, 'thank you, I'm trying to do my best.'

"The thing about what little we know about the brain, the injuries and CTE, is that tomorrow could be totally different," he said.

"Tomorrow, I may be in great health, but I don't know who I am or where I'm going. It can happen overnight. I know it's not as dramatic as that, but that's the scary thing. No matter what I do to try to take care of myself physically, that is a part of my future that I really can't control."