FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady's weekly interview on sports radio WEEI on Monday took an unexpected turn, with Brady passionately discussing some of his personal beliefs on nutrition/lifestyle, Western medicine and his relationship with business partner Alex Guerrero, who Boston Magazine recently wrote about in a less-than-flattering piece.
In all, the interview with hosts John Dennis, Gerry Callahan and Kirk Minihane lasted 37 minutes, about 15-20 minutes longer than the norm. That was because Brady extended the conversation.
Here were some of the things that stood out to me:
His belief in Guerrero. "I have tremendous belief in Alex and what he's accomplished with me in the 10 or 11 years we've been working together. He has never been wrong. I had doctors with the highest and best education in our country tell me that I wouldn't be able to play football again, that I would need multiple surgeries on my knee for my staph infection [in 2008], that I would need a new ACL, a new MCL, and I wouldn't be able to play with my kids when I'm older. Of course, I go back the next year and win the Comeback Player of the Year. The next season, we win the MVP of the year. So it's interesting, because like I said, I've chosen a different approach. That approach works for me, and that's what I want to try to provide to athletes who maybe want to take a different approach too. ... I wouldn't be playing today if it wasn't for what he's been able to accomplish with me and the education process I've gone through and learning how to take care of myself."
How his view of medicine differs from his the mainstream. "That's kind of our approach to medicine -- let's wait until you get sick, let's wait until you get hurt, oh, and then we'll treat you. Well, how about finding ways to try to prevent yourself from that even happening? I think that's a much better approach to medicine. ... When you say, 'This sounds like quackery', well, there's a lot of things I see on a daily basis in Western medicine that I think, 'Wow, why would they ever do that? That's crazy. It doesn't work.' But that's just the way life is; I think a lot of things that are the norm, that are very systematic, don't work."
His approach in these areas. "I think I've really stepped outside the box in the way I try to train, eat, hydrate, the cognitive brain games I play on a daily or weekly basis to try to build up some durability within my body, within my brain, to be able to go out there and play at a high level at age 38. Now, you guys may think that I'm full of crap, but the proof is what you see on the field. That's what I say. I try to encourage all my teammates, and I sure hope that some day all athletes -- my kids, high school kids -- get the same level of care I get. Because you can play for a long period of time without having knee replacements, without having all the major head trauma that people are dealing with."
His approach on nutrition. "I would love to encourage all my teammates to eat the best way they possibly can; high school athletes. Now, that's not the way our food system in America is set up. It's very different. They have a food pyramid and I disagree with that. I disagree with a lot of things that people tell you to do. You probably go out and drink Coca-Cola and think 'Oh yeah, that's no problem.' Why? Because they pay lots of money for advertisements ... No, I totally disagree with that. And when people do that, I think that's quackery. The fact they can sell that to kids, that's poison for kids. But they keep doing it. Obviously, you guys may not have a comment on that because maybe that's what your belief system is. So you do whatever you want, you live the life you want, but like I said, what I'm trying to provide for athletes, and for people and all the clients that we have that come in is a different way of thinking, a different way of methods. You need to think outside the box. You need to think differently if you want to sustain what, for me, is my peak performance; the very best that I can achieve as an athlete every day. I learned that a long time ago."
Being proactive. "So much of it is being proactive. It's not waiting to get sick. It's not waiting to get injured. Lifestyle choices are very important to your health and wellness. We haven't been educated like that. I think we feel like we can just do whatever we want -- we can live, we can eat however we want, drink however we want, do all these different exercises as the way to a healthy lifestyle. I think a lot of those things have been very wrong. I think we've been lied to by a lot of food companies over the years, a lot of beverage companies over the years. But we still do it. That's just America and that's what we've been conditioned to; we believe that Frosted Flakes is actually a food. You just keep eating those things and you wonder why we have incredible rates of disease in our country. No one thinks it has anything to do with what we put in our body. ... Of course they taste good and all those companies make lots of money selling those things; they have lots of money to advertise. When you go to the Super Bowl, who are the sponsors? So like I said, that's the education we get; that's what we get brainwashed to believe, that all these things are just normal food groups and this is what you should eat. When you get sick, these are the types of things you should take. I like to try to avoid those things."
Looking ahead. "It kills me to see all these pitchers that have this Tommy John surgery knowing it could be avoided. Hamstring pulls. Groin injuries. So many of these things, I just shake my head and I go, 'I can't believe this still happens in today's day and age.' That's why I started TB12 [Sports Therapy Center]. I felt that based on the care I received over 10 years, this is what my calling will be after football; is to educate people."