Mike Ehrmann/Getty Former quarterback Brett Favre
Brett Favre, the former Green Bay Packers quarterback, estimates he experienced "thousands" of concussions over his 20 seasons in the NFL.
In an interview on the show The Bubba Army, Favre was asked how many head injuries he sustained over the course of his career. The 52-year-old NFL Hall of Famer said he initially believed the number was low, but now thinks the estimate is much higher now that he knows more about concussions, which can cause chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).
"The thing about concussions is we still don't know a lot about them," Favre told host Bubba The Love Sponge. "If you had asked me this 10 years ago, how many concussions I had, I would have said three."
"The reason I would have said three," he explained, "[is] I thought concussions were where you get knocked out, where you black out, for a period of time you don't know where you are, memory loss, dizzy. A boxer gets knocked and tries to get up, his legs are rubber. That's a concussion."
Favre said he now understands that a concussion can happen without someone becoming unconscious.
"What we now know is concussions happen all the time," he said. "You get tackled and your head hits the turf, you see the flashes of light or ringing in your ears, but you're able to play."
"So, based on that, thousands," Favre continued. "That's what's kind of frightening about the concussion thing. It's the ones that seem minor that do the damage, because you're able to keep going, and still today, there's probably guys that have them, they're [saying] 'I'm not going out.' "
As defined by the Centers for Disease Control, concussions are traumatic injuries generated by hits to the head or body that cause the brain to bounce around the skull. Football players may experience many concussion-causing blows throughout their careers. Repeated concussions can lead to CTE, which is characterized by long-term effects such as trouble concentrating, memory problems and depression.
Favre has spoken out about concussions many times and last year starred in a campaign for the Concussion Legacy Foundation, where he cautioned parents against putting their children on tackle football teams.
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"Having kids play before high school is just not worth the risk," he said in a statement at the time. "CTE is a terrible disease, and we need to do everything we can to prevent it for the next generation of football players."