Brian Westbrook confessed his fear last night.
In his first interview since he suffered his second concussion, the Eagles' star running back said he was "really scared" about his future in football.
Westbrook joined Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher on HBO's Joe Buck Live from New York University and talked about the two concussions that have sidelined him for four games already this season.
"I'm worried about it," Westbrook said. "Concussions have been all over the headlines and all over the papers, and it has been on the top of my mind since the Redskins game on the 26th of October."
That was when Westbrook was knocked unconscious by a knee to the head from Washington linebacker London Fletcher. He suffered his second concussion three weeks later during a game against the San Diego Chargers and has not played since.
Westbrook, 30, said his greatest fear is of the unknown ramifications that concussions can have as he grows older.
"I'm very concerned just because there is not a lot of data that says in 10 years or 20 years you'll be fine if you had too many concussions," he said. "I'm worried about that, and, hopefully, next time I go out there I don't have to worry about it anymore.
"That's my biggest concern. How am I going to be when I'm 50 or when I'm 60? Will I have all these brain diseases and will I have a problem remembering things? . . . Now, I'm trying to get myself together with the help of the doctors as well as coach [Andy] Reid and the training staff. Now, the most important thing is to get 100 percent healthy - and not play football . . . until I'm 100 percent healthy."
Westbrook reiterated that he was snoring and dreaming after the concussion in Washington.
"It was tough," he said. "You really don't remember that play."
Even tougher, he said, was listening to the varied opinions about returning to the field.
"You hear all these different stories," Westbrook said. "You hear the worst - from guys dying who had a concussion, you hear about guys with memory loss and things like that.
"You also hear, 'You can probably play next week. I played with a concussion. I had two or three concussions in one game.' . . . So at that point you try to process all the information and figure out what the best thing is to do. I've played with knee injuries and I played with ankle injuries throughout my career . . . but for me, and I think for any player, you can't really live your life without having a brain. You don't expect to leave the game without the ability to think. I don't want to put myself in that position."
Westbrook said he hoped to play Sunday against the New York Giants, but admitted when he returns to practice today at the NovaCare Complex it will be in a limited fashion.
"My goal every week since I've been out is to get back and play, so I'm going to do everything that I can to get back out there and play this week," he said. "I'm going to start practicing, but of course you have to take things slow, and if you have any setbacks, you have to fall back a little bit. We'll see how it goes."