NFL player 'not ashamed or embarrassed' he left game due to anxiety-related illness

Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks opened up about leaving Sunday's loss to the Seahawks due to nausea and vomiting from anxiety-related illness.

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/ Source: TODAY
By Scott Stump

A Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman says he is "not ashamed or embarrassed" about the anxiety-related illness that caused him to leave Sunday's loss to the Seattle Seahawks.

Star right guard Brandon Brooks, 30, left the game in the first quarter and did not return due to vomiting and nausea caused by an anxiety-related issue that he has been open about in the past.

Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Brandon Brooks left Sunday's game in the first quarter due to an anxiety-related illness. Timothy T Ludwig / Getty Images

Brooks expanded upon his absence from the game in a tweet on Monday morning, writing that he deals with anxiety-related issues daily.

"I'd like to address what happened yesterday," he wrote. "I woke up, and did my typical routine of morning vomiting. It didn't go away like it normally does, but I figured it would calm down once I got to the stadium.

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"It did, but I felt exhausted. The nausea came back, and I tried to battle through it and went out for the first drive. The nausea and vomiting came back until I left the field, and tried everything I could to get back for my teammates but just wasn't able to do it."

Brooks, who was drafted by the Houston Texans in 2012, has missed five games over his seven-year career due to anxiety-related illness, most recently in 2016, when he missed a pair of games, according to ESPN.

He has persevered through his illness to become a two-time Pro Bowl selection as well as the highest-paid guard in the NFL after signing a four-year extension worth $56.5 million on Nov. 11.

"Make no mistake, I'm NOT ashamed or embarrassed by this nor what I go through daily,'' he wrote. "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. Lastly, I appreciate the support of my coaches, teammates and fans. It doesn't go unnoticed."

Brooks has previously spoken about the support from teammate Lane Johnson, a fellow offensive lineman who missed Sunday's game with a concussion. Johnson also has dealt with anxiety and vomiting before games.

"This might be a little too much information, but we actually wake up every game day and throw up at the same time,'' Brooks told NFL Films earlier this season. "And if our rooms are close, I can hear (Johnson) through the vents. And then I'll text him like, 'Are you up, dude? Are you OK?' And he's like, 'Yeah, just throwing up.' And I'm like, 'Yeah, just doing the same thing.'"

"That's every game day," said. "It's our ritual. When I hear him throwing up, I know that he's ready."

More and more athletes have been open about their anxiety issues in recent years, including superstar Olympic skier Mikaela Shiffrin, Olympic figure skater Gracie Gold and NBA star Kevin Love.

Eagles head coach Doug Pederson voiced his support for Brooks after the team's 17-9 setback against the Seahawks.

"I’ll just say this, I’m not going to get into a lot of detail with that,'' Pederson said in a radio interview with 94.1 WIP on Monday. "Because, listen, this is a real life issue. This is not a football issue with Brandon.

"This is a real life issue that he has come out and publicly acknowledged and kind of shared his story a few years back. It’s something that he’s dealing with each and every day of his life. You never really know what triggers it. We’re here to support him, we love him. It is unfortunate that it happened, but it’s something that he deals with every single day. We’re just going to continue to support him."