The Washington Post

Brett Favre talks of memory loss, football’s “toll”

(Rogelio V. Solis / AP)

Brett Favre is happily retired and working as a volunteer high school coach in Mississippi, but that doesn’t mean he’d want a son, if he had one, to play the game.

Favre is the latest — and one of the biggest names — to question the toll the sport takes and to say that he is experiencing memory loss as an aftereffect of his 20-year NFL career.

“I would be real leery of him playing,” Favre, who has two daughters, told Matt Lauer in a “Today” interview. “In some respects, I’m almost glad I don’t have a son because of the pressures he would face. Also the physical toll that it could possibly take on him, not to mention if he never made it, he’s gonna be a failure in everyone’s eyes. But more the physical toll that it could take.”

Favre and his wife, Deanna, have noticed changes in him.

“I’ve talked to several doctors, asking them about symptoms, and one of them is not being able to finish a sentence,’’ Favre said, “or not remembering a word — a specific word. I’ve noticed lately, if there’s any symptom at all, that one being the one that shows the most.’’

Favre, 44, was sacked 525 times over his career and he believes that’s to blame for his problems.

“I can’t say for certain,’’ Favre said. “I would assume so, and I think most people would assume. But I’ve got to believe that after 20 years, and if you go back, I played four years in college and played every game and then in high school, the toll has got to be pretty high.”

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Favre, 44, was approached about returning to the league, but he isn’t considering it, even though he is in good shape physically.

“I think to me the wakeup call was Deanna and I were talking recently, and she was talking about Breleigh, our youngest, playing soccer. I’ve pretty much made every game that she’s ever played [in] basketball, volleyball. She played softball one year, she played basketball a couple years. As I find out, she played soccer. I don’t remember her playing soccer. She played right over here, and that was probably where my first inclination that something ain’t right.”

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.



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Cindy Boren · November 18, 2013