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December 2, 2019
by Kimberly Lucey

NFL Star Speaks Out about Battle with Anxiety

December 2, 2019 05:00 by Kimberly Lucey  [About the Author]

"When I got the new contract, I tried to talk myself down about it," said Brooks. "'Hey look, you're playing great, keep doing what you're doing, no issues.' I talked to my therapist about it, it started setting in my head, `Hey, you've got to show everybody you're worth the money,' instead of, 'Just go out there and play. No need to change what you've been doing or anything like that.' That's what kind of brought it on. That's just the person I am. That's my double-edged sword. It's something that's always driven me, to try and be the greatest at whatever I do."

Brooks says he's dealt with anxiety for several years but has been able to start 50 straight games, including the playoffs. Sunday, he says he was vomiting all morning, and between series during the game before he left. He wrote on Twitter a day after the game explaining what had happened, including "make no mistake, I'm not ashamed or embarrassed by this, nor what I go through daily. I've had this under control for a couple of years, and had a set back yesterday. The only thing I'm upset about is that when my team needed me, I wasn't able to be out there with and for them." Brooks played only 12 snaps in the team's 17-9 loss to Seattle.

The star NFL player says he's thankful for the support he's had from coaches, teammates, and fans. Defensive tackle Fletcher Cox says "I went over and talked to him and asked if there was anything I could do. I wouldn't say I know what he's going through, but I felt so bad for Brandon and I know how bad he wanted to be out there. Brandon is an important piece to this team."

When Brooks first shared his diagnosis in 2016, he says he thought it could help one or two people. Instead, people from all over the world, and players from different teams around the NFL have reached out for support. Brooks hopes by talking about his struggle, he can help others going through the same thing.

"We're people. We're human beings. We go through the same things that everybody else goes through, everyday issues that 40 million Americans go through," says Brooks. "We're no different and when we have issues, the only difference is that it's front-page news. There are a lot of people who go through the same issues that we all go through. I just encourage athletes who do go through things, whether it's something like a mental illness or really anything, to speak about it. You never know who you might help. You might be helping yourself."

Brooks says he plans to practice with the Eagles this week, and play in the game Sunday at Miami.

About the Author

Kimberly Lucey

Kim Lucey is a freelance journalist with more than a decade of experience in the field. Her career has included coverage of big breaking news events like the Sandy Hook school shooting, lockdown in Watertown, MA following the Boston marathon bombings, and Superstorm Sandy. Her in-depth reports have garnered awards, including a focus on treating mental health issues in children. Currently, she is a reporter at a television station covering the news across the Greater Boston Area with an appreciation for fact-finding and storytelling. Follow Kim on Facebook and Twitter.

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