Former Green Bay Packers quarterback and Hall of Famer Brett Favre was one of the toughest quarterbacks in the NFL, and it took a significant toll on his health despite the fact he didn't miss many games.
During an appearance on The Bubba Army radio show this week (h/t TMZ Sports), Favre said he believes he suffered "thousands" of concussions during his 20-year NFL career.
"Concussions happen all the time," Favre said. "You get tackled and your head hits the turf, you see flashes of light or ringing in your ears but you're able to play—that's a concussion."
Favre added: "So, based on that, [I've suffered] thousands. Had to be, because every time my head hit the turf, there was ringing or stars going, flash bulbs ... but I was still able to play."
The 52-year-old was never diagnosed with many concussions. However, he was certainly down on the ground more often than he would've liked, being sacked 525 times in 302 regular-season games and 36 times in 24 playoff games.
One of Favre's worst head injuries came in a 2004 game against the New York Giants. He suffered a brutal concussion after being driven to the ground before going on to toss a touchdown pass to Javon Walker, which he doesn't remember doing.
"That's what's kind of frightening about the concussion thing—it's the ones that seem minor that do the damage 'cause you're able to play and keep going," Favre said.
In 2013, three years after he retired from the NFL, Favre detailed the impact concussions had on his life during an interview with Sports Talk 570 in Washington (h/t Nate Davis of USA Today):
"I don't remember my daughter playing soccer, playing youth soccer, one summer. I don't remember that. I got a pretty good memory, and I have a tendency like we all do to say, 'Where are my glasses?' and they're on your head. This was pretty shocking to me that I couldn't remember my daughter playing youth soccer, just one summer, I think. I remember her playing basketball, I remember her playing volleyball, so I kind of think maybe she only played a game or two. I think she played eight. So that's a little bit scary to me."
During an appearance on the Today show last summer, Favre said that he was unsure if he had chronic traumatic encephalopathy and that he likely suffered many concussions over his career:
“(There’s) no telling how many concussions I've had, and what are the repercussions of that, there's no answer. I wasn't the best student, but I still can remember certain things that you would go, 'Why would you even remember that?' But I can't remember someone that I played six years with in Green Bay ... but the face looks familiar. Those type of issues that make me wonder."
In his 20 seasons with the Packers, Atlanta Falcons, New York Jets and Minnesota Vikings, Favre said in 2018 that he was probably diagnosed with a concussion just three or four times.
The three-time MVP is now an advocate for head injury awareness. Last summer, he participated in a campaign with the Concussion Legacy Foundation to encourage flag football for children under the age of 14 to reduce the risk of CTE.