Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks missed two games in 2016 with an anxiety condition that debilitated him. Brooks still vomits, as is his pregame ritual, but he has learned to control his anxiety.
“I’m always going to be anxious,” Brooks said, via Zach Berman of phillynews.com. “But I realize it’s OK to be anxious. Really, how I look at it, it’s your body knowing you’re about to go out there and play. . . . It’s how my body handles it. But it’s OK. It’s not something I need to panic about. That’s just how my body handles it on game day. Go in there and throw up, and I’ll be fine.”
Brooks played every game in a Pro Bowl season after missing two games in a three-week period during the 2016 season. He required intravenous fluids and was hospitalized with what was initially believed to be a stomach illness. Brooks said he had to learn how to deal with imperfection and “turn my brain off.”
Brooks took medication for his condition when he resumed playing last season. He still meets with a therapist once a week.
“I guess the mental awareness tip was just like, if you pull a hamstring and you need ice to [stimulate] your rehab, it’s the same thing mentally,” Brooks said. “It’s a lot of stuff that goes on in life. It’s not all rainbows and lollipops. Sometimes you need someone to talk to. Sometimes things are deeper than what you think, or you have something from your past that’s affecting you, and you don’t even know. But it’s nice to be able to talk to somebody on a confidential level and get Ph.D. advice.”