METAIRIE, La. — Drew Brees did not watch PBS' Frontline report League of Denial, which detailed the NFL's alleged mishandling of head injuries over several decades, Tuesday night. But the New Orleans Saints quarterback was familiar with the dirty details proffered in the two-hour piece.
He didn't need to have them to know it will be years before he and his wife allow any of their three sons to play football. Once the Brees boys are into their teens, they can choose if they want to play their father's chosen sport. Until then, it's not worth the risk of injury.
"At a certain age, I think it's appropriate. I think you can be too young to go out there and strap on a helmet," Brees said Wednesday after practice.
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"As a parent, you have to know what those risks are, and the protocols that have to take place when things happen. When you get a concussion, you should be out for a certain period of time. You should be taking the baseline test. You go back and take that test again, get cleared by medical professionals before you ever play. For a kid, it should be at least a week or two, if not more."
As a member of the NFLPA's executive committee and the face of a team that spent a year battling Bountygate, Brees has rarely shied away from taking shots at the NFL. He agrees the league has erred in the way it dealt with head injuries to former players.
"They're in bad shape, and they deserve to be cared for and be helped. Hopefully we can learn a lot from that and that situation and make it better for those who come after," Brees said.
But Brees didn't seem to agree with the idea that football, because of the intense scrutiny on head injuries, is suffering from an image problem despite evidence to the contrary, including the battle his former teammate, Steve Gleason, is waging against ALS.
"There are protocols in place, and they need to be followed, to a T. It's obviously very serious stuff," Brees said.
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