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Bradshaw: I'm rehabbing my brain after career of concussions

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  • By NFL.com Wire Reports
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Terry Bradshaw says he's feeling the effects of numerous concussions that he sustained during his Hall of Fame career and now struggles with short-term memory loss, depression and anxiety.

Bradshaw, 62, wrote a column for FOXSports.com on Tuesday to elaborate on his condition, one day after he spoke to reporters about the issue for the first time.

"Today most athletes rehab after surgery from a knee or shoulder injury. Well, I'm learning how to prevent my brain from getting worse than it is after suffering a career worth of concussions playing football," wrote Bradshaw, now a mainstay on Fox Sports' NFL pre-game and postgame coverage. "When I played for the Steelers and I got my bell rung, I'd take smelling salts and go right back out there. All of us did that. We didn't know any better. You don't know how many times I was in the huddle, asking my teammates to help me call a play. After a few minutes, I'd be fine and I'd keep playing just like nothing had happened."

Bradshaw said the symptoms -- including trouble concentrating -- have plagued him for "awhile."

"It took me 10 days to learn nine pages of a speech, something that would probably take you one or two days to learn," he wrote. "Toward the end of last season on the FOX pregame show, maybe the last six weeks, I really started to forget things. That's why I quit reciting statistics because I couldn't remember them exactly and I stayed away from mentioning some players by name because I really wasn't sure and I didn't want to make a mistake. I'm on national TV in front of millions and I hate making mistakes."

The memory loss, Bradshaw wrote, made him jittery, snowballing into a depression that he described as "a horrible disease."

Bradshaw explained that he wanted to tell his story to encourage other players to also talk about their conditions.

"I thought it would be good for a lot of players for this to get out, for me to tell my story because I was a quarterback," he wrote. "I know how much my late center Mike Webster suffered. I can only imagine what a lot of defensive players from my era are going through.

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"I also think other players should speak up and say what they've been experiencing. It's good for the soul and your brain."

Bradshaw said Monday during a golf tournament in Louisiana that he had been losing short-term memory and hand-eye coordination. He also said he's undergoing rehabilitation for those ailments.

"I'm going out and buying a ping pong table. The doctors say that will help improve my hand/eye coordination," Bradshaw wrote Tuesday. "It's definitely not what it used to be. And I'm also doing some brain puzzle tests that I download off the Internet. Basically, I'm rehabbing my brain.

The normally animated Bradshaw was somber Monday as he told reporters of his condition. Bradshaw told KTBS-TV that he sustained at least six concussions, plus an unknown number of instances where there was a blow to the head that would require him to "clear the cobwebs."

Bradshaw was the first player selected in the 1970 NFL Draft, and during a career that lasted until 1983, he led the Steelers to eight AFC Central championships and four Super Bowl titles.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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