Brandon Brooks Opens Up About Anxiety Condition

Brooks said he missed two of the Eagles' last three games because of this condition.

Brandon Brooks. (Jeff Fusco)

Brandon Brooks. (Jeff Fusco)

When it happened in 2014, Brandon Brooks thought he just had an ulcer. But then it happened again in 2015, and now it’s happened twice in the last three weeks. The 27-year-old offensive lineman has missed four games in the last three seasons because of a last-minute illness that popped up on game day. Each time, he would wake up around 4 or 5 a.m., vomit uncontrollably for about 24 hours, lack the strength to even stand up and wonder what was happening to him afterward.

Now, he knows what the cause is.

“I found out recently that I have an anxiety condition. What I mean by anxiety condition is not nervousness or fear of the game, what it is is I have an obsession with the game. It’s an unhealthy obsession right now. I’m working with team doctors to get everything straightened out and get the help I need,” Brooks said. “I love the organization; the organization has been great. They’re supporting me with this — the head coach (Doug Pederson), my position coach (Jeff Stoutland), Howie [Roseman]. I’ll make it through; I’ll be okay. Nothing I’m ashamed of. I own it.”

Brooks, who was a last-minute scratch when the Eagles played Green Bay and Washington recently, said he found out about his condition after he missed the Packers game. He now has two types of medication: one to “chill him out” that will build up in his system over time, while the other is more of a short-term fix.

Brooks noted that while he is “concerned” about his condition, he doesn’t believe it will impact his career now that he’s taking medicine and can talk to a sport psychologist about his problems.

“I’m taking steps now. First, once you got an issue or problem, you got to admit. I admit it. I accept it. I own it,” Brooks said. “Get the medication I need to tone it down. I think that’s a lot of times what happens is throughout the week I’m going (up) and I got to taper it down and kind of chill and turn my brain off. And go talk to somebody, figure out why I’ve constantly searching to be perfect.

“It’s just I always want to be perfect in what I do and if I’m not perfect, that’s not good enough. Sometimes, that really weighs on me. I have to learn how to chill out and understand it’s okay to make mistakes, it’s okay not to be perfect.”

Brooks added how he sometimes suffers the symptoms of his condition outside of game days and noted that he has missed practices because of it. He also wanted to openly talk about it to the media in case he’s able to help others who are in similar situations.

“I’m not ashamed. I’m not embarrassed. It’s life,” Brooks said. “Hopefully [if] some other kid out there is going through the same thing, [they know] it’s okay, life goes on. Fight through it just like I’m trying to do.”