A hulking Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman admitted Monday he was sidelined from his team's most recent game due to an overwhelming and debilitating bout of anxiety.
Brandon Brooks, a 6-foot-5, 335-pound starting guard, played in just 12 of his team's 76 offensive snaps against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday in Philadelphia.
"I'd like to address what happened yesterday," he wrote on Twitter, a day after Seattle's 17-9 victory over the Eagles. "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. It did, but I felt exhausted."
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Soon Brooks, who has been open about his battles with anxiety, realized he couldn't play at full strength.
"The nausea came back, and I tried to battle through it and went out for the first drive," he wrote. "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."
Eagles coach Doug Pederson said coaches and players have Brooks' back.
"This is a real-life issue that he has come out and publicly acknowledged and kind of shared his story a few years back," Pederson told radio station WIP in Philadelphia on Monday.
"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.”
Brooks, 30, a Milwaukee native and alumnus of Miami University in Ohio, wrote that he's not ashamed of his anxiety — but is upset that he couldn't help his teammates Sunday.
The Eagles, who are averaging 22.1 points per game this season, could only muster a field goal and a touchdown toward the end against a below-average Seahawks defense.
"The only thing I'm upset about is that when my team needed me, I wasn't able to be out there with them and for them," he wrote. "Lastly I appreciate the support of my coaches, teammates and fans. It doesn't go unnoticed."
Brooks is far from the only elite athlete to openly talk about mental health issues.
NBA star Kevin Love, Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Zack Greinke and all-time great swimmer Michael Phelps have also spoken publicly about their struggles in recent years.