Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre suffered a concussion on the last play of his career in 2010.
Favre, who started a record 321 consecutive games spanning more than two decades, said that “probably 90 percent” of the tackles he endured resulted in some kind of concussion.
When the NFL finally implemented a concussion protocol in 2010, “it [was] 20 years too late,” he said.
Favre, fellow Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and even former Cubs catcher David Ross have become vocal advocates recently for concussion research.
The Illinois legislature is also getting involved in protecting young athletes from head trauma.
The Dave Duerson Act to Prevent CTE, or House Bill 4341, which would prevent children under 12 from participating in tackle football, will be presented to a committee Thursday. The bill was named in honor of former Bears safety Dave Duerson, who killed himself in 2011 and was later found to have suffered from CTE.
Favre, who said he’d much rather caddie for his three grandsons than watch them play football, supports states passing laws to protect youngsters who participate in contact sports.
Ross, on the other hand, has a 9-year-old son who plays flag football and said he’s “on the fence” about the legislature’s involvement.
“The last thing I want to do is let my son do something for fun and compete and be in harm’s way [mentally in the long term],” Ross said. “With all the info out there, I don’t know why you wouldn’t listen to it.”
Whether the bill is passed, Ross and Favre are doing more than just talking politics. The two — along with 10 other current and former athletes, including Warner and Mike Ditka — are investors in a drug called Prevacus that’s at the forefront of concussion treatment.
“The athlete is getting bigger . . . faster . . . stronger, I don’t think that’s going to change,” Favre said. “So the fact that we tackle and the hits are becoming more violent, I don’t see how the concussions will go down.
“At some point, we have to look at treatment. Prevention can only go so far.”
And that’s where Prevacus comes in.
The drug is administered as a nasal spray and is recommended after diagnosis of a brain injury. Prevacus is said to reduce swelling, inflammation, oxidative stress and cell death in the brain, according to its creator, Dr. Jake VanLandingham. The drug has not been approved by the FDA.
Follow me on Twitter @MadKenney.