Philadelphia Eagles right guard Brandon Brooks is one of the best offensive linemen in the league. The $56.2 million contract extension he received earlier this month ― making him the highest-paid player for his position ― is a testament to that.
But even the 6-foot-5-inch, 335-pound star can occasionally be pushed around by an unseen opponent.
Brooks removed himself from Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks after vomiting several times due to anxiety.
“I’d like to address what happened yesterday,” he wrote on Twitter Monday. “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. The nausea came back, and I tried to battle through it and went out for the first drive. 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.”
Brooks, a 30-year-old veteran in his eighth season, has missed five games from anxiety-related illness in the NFL, ESPN reported, but had not missed any since 2016. He was diagnosed with anxiety and sees a psychologist once a week, according to the sports network.
An estimated 40 million people in the U.S. live with anxiety. The mental health condition can cause debilitating physical and emotional symptoms, like nausea, headaches and excessive worrying. Treatment for the issue can involve therapy — like it does for Brooks — medication, coping techniques, lifestyle changes or a combination of all methods.
The offensive lineman called Sunday’s episode a setback and said he was upset that he let down his teammates. The Eagles lost, 17-9.
“Make no mistake, I’m NOT ashamed or embarrassed by this nor what I go through daily,” he wrote. “I’ve had this under control for a couple of years, and had a set back yesterday. The only thing I’m upset about is that when my team needed me, I wasn’t able to be out there with and for them. Lastly, I appreciate the support of my coaches, teammates and fans. It doesn’t go unnoticed.”
Eagles coach Doug Pederson expressed support for his player on Monday.
“It’s something that he’s dealing with each and every day of his life,” Pederson told 94.1 WIP, per CBS Sports. “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 also received overwhelming support from fans, many of whom encouraged him to take care of his emotional health and thanked him for publicly discussing his condition.
“We love and support you,” one fan wrote on Twitter. “Thank you for being so open about your anxiety, it helps so many people more than you could ever know.”