PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Eagles Pro Bowl guard Brandon Brooks suffered a mental health setback during Sunday’s game. The Eagles lost, but experts say mental health awareness is getting some important recognition.
Brooks has been very open about his struggles with anxiety. Doctors say everyone can learn a lot from Brooks’ brave example.
Brooks, the Eagles’ $56 million star guard, had his anxiety under control until Sunday when he had to leave the Birds’ 17-9 loss to Seattle.
The offensive line, missing Brooks, got a lot of the blame.
On Monday, Brooks tweeted: “I woke up, and did my typical routine of morning vomiting. It didn’t go away like it normally does, tried everything I could to get back for my teammates but just wasn’t able to do it. 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.”
— Brandon Brooks (@bbrooks_79) November 25, 2019
“This is real life for him. This is serious and it’s something he battles every single day, does a great job managing that,” head coach Doug Pederson said.
Brooks was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder in 2016, explaining he had an obsession with winning that wasn’t fear-based.
He said it had been under control with medications and therapy. It’s unclear what triggered the new episode.
“I think it’s very common. I just don’t think we’re talking about it enough,” therapist Dr. Argie Allen-Wilson said.
The often hidden truth is anxiety, or any mental health issue, can strike anyone — even famous athletes.
“Whether you’re a big tough guy or a tiny woman, we all have anxiety. We’re human beings, we need to put our oxygen mask on first, take care of ourselves and do the necessary things so we can be healthy inside and out,” Allen-Wilson said.
Revealing and confronting emotions is the first critical step in dealing with anxiety, which is triggered by stress.
For the Eagles, with the offensive line depleted, a lot was riding on Brooks.
“Being in the game and wanting to win, having all the pressure both externally and internally can contribute to the anxiety,” Allen-Wilson said.
Allen-Wilson says meditation and journaling — writing down feelings — can be most effective in treating and managing anxiety.
Doctors are applauding Brooks for sharing his struggles, underscoring the fact that anyone, even star athletes, can have emotional problems.
And while anxiety is highly treatable, most people don’t get help.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults.