Tom Brady on D&C: Controversial trainer Alex Guerrero ‘an incredible influence in my life’
|10.12.15 at 10:27 am ET|
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady launched into an impassioned defense of his embattled business partner and “body coach” during his weekly appearance with Dennis, Callahan & Minihane on Monday morning, a day after throwing for two touchdowns in a 30-6 rout of the Cowboys. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
Alex Guerrero has been working with Brady for a decade, but prior to that — according to a scathing article in Boston magazine — Guerrero was sued by the government in 2004 for falsely claiming he was a doctor and making up drug trial results to help peddle an alleged cure for various terminal illnesses called Supreme Greens. The FTC announced a settlement with Guerrero in 2005 in which he was forced to pay a $65,000 fine and given a lifetime ban against passing himself off as a doctor or promoting Supreme Greens or “any substantially similar product.”
A few years ago, Guerrero’s company, 6 Degree Nutrition, marketed a drink called NeuroSafe that claimed to help athletes recover from concussions faster. Again the FTC stepped in and forced Guerrero to stop selling the product after concluding there was no scientific evidence to support his claims.
“I don’t know the details of each of those incidences, but I think that it speaks to he as a person, as a friend. There’s nobody better person that I enjoy as much as Alex,” Brady said. “He’s been an incredible influence in my life. I think we’re doing something really special with our business [TB12].
“So much of what we talk about, Alex and I, is prevention. It’s probably a lot different than most of the Western medicine that is kind of in a way you — I’d say in professional sports, or in any sport in general, you kind of just play the game until you basically get hurt. Then you go to rehab and then you try to come back and you try to play your sport again. And I think so much for me and what we try to accomplish with what my regimen is, and what my methods are, and the things of my belief system, is trying to do things proactively so that you can avoid getting injured.
“For example, like that hit that I took yesterday that you talked about, that I got hit in my back. I think that’s really a credit to the work that we’ve put in over the years so that my body can withstand those type of hits and my structure doesn’t take the brunt of those type of hits. That’s all about injury prevention. And a lot of times you’ve got to pay the price in advance for that.”
Pressed on what he knew about Guerrero’s shady past, Brady said, “Parts of it I did” know about.
“We’ve talked about several things as it relates to that, and he dealt with that,” Brady said. “That’s part of his life and that’s something that happened 13 years ago.”
Added Brady: “Everything as it relates to that is something that Alex has had to deal with, and he dealt with that. Nutritional supplements and FTC regulation and all those types of things, there are a lot of gray areas in that. I’m someone who does take nutritional supplements. I take a green supplement. I take different supplements to try to help my body recover from the rigors of the training that we do. I try to eat really well. I try to have a clean diet so that I can play and try to prevent inflammation in my body. I try to do that so that I can play for long periods of time.
“You may say what you want, and a lot of people have opinions on what things that may work for them. I think what I’m trying to do is communicate ways to all athletes — young, middle-aged, older athletes — ways that have worked for me, and that have proven over the last 10 years to be very sustainable and very holistic approach to taking care of your body so that it can perform.
“So many players have knee replacements and hip replacements when they’re done playing. I hear stories, concussion stories all the time. We’ve treated lots of people with concussions down at TB12, with incredible success. If any three of you are every injured or want to come down and check it out, you’re more than welcome. I think it will be a great education for you. And a lot of it is different philosophies and different theories. And a lot of people do what’s right for them.”
Brady said he’s talked to Guerrero about his past issues and is comfortable with his approach, despite his history of issues with the FTC.
“I didn’t read the whole story, I didn’t read the whole transcript [of the FTC testimony]. I know what I’ve spoken [about] with Alex over the years, and I have tremendous belief with Alex and what he’s accomplished with me,” Brady said. “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 us — tell me — that I wouldn’t be able to play football again [after his 2007 ACL injury], that I would need multiple surgeries on my knee from my staph infection, that I would need a new ACL, a new MCL, that I wouldn’t be able to play with my kids when I’m older. Of course I go back the next year and we win Comeback Player of the Year. I follow the next season and we win the MVP of the year.
“So it’s like, it’s interesting, because, like I said, I’ve chosen a different approach. And that approach works for me. That’s what I want to try to provide to athletes who maybe want to take a different approach, too.”
Brady lamented what he called Western medicine’s philosophy of waiting until you get sick or injured and then trying to treat the problem when it’s too late.
“I’ve really stepped outside the box in the way that I try to, like I said, train, eat, hydrate, the cognitive brain games that 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 38,” he said. “Now you guys may think 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 someday that all athletes … get the same level of care that I get, because you can play for a long period of time without having knee replacement, without having all the major head trauma that people are dealing with based on the systems that have been in place for a long period of time that have never changed. So you need to start thinking outside the box if you want to do something different.
“When you think about nutritional supplements you think about other types of training methods and training techniques. I think that’s a great thing. I think when you talk about a green supplement — it’s vegetables. It’s eating better. So much of my diet is based on an acid-alkaline principle, which to me does reduce inflammation in my body. When you run around and take hits all day for a living, that’s a really positive thing for me. I would love to encourage all my teammates to eat the best way they possibly can, to have high school athletes [do the same].
“That’s not the way our food system in America is set up. It’s very different. They have a food pyramid. I disagree with that. I disagree with a lot of things that people tell you to do. You’ll probably go out and drink Coca-Cola and think, ‘Oh yeah, that’s no problem.’ Why? Because they pay lots of money for advertisements to think that you should drink Coca-Cola for a living? No, I totally disagree with that. And when people do that, I think that’s quackery. And the fact that they can sell that to kids? I mean, that’s poison for kids. But they keep doing it. And 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.
“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 be 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. And I learned that a long time ago.”
Added Brady: “I think we’ve been lied to by a lot of food companies over the years, by 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 a food. … You just keep eating those things, and you keep wondering why we have just incredible rates of disease in our country. No one thinks it has anything to do with what we put in our body.”
Brady said he’ll talk to his teammates about his philosophy “if they ask.” But he knows it’s a tough battle to get people to change their eating habits.
“I also think those [junk foods], of course they taste very good. And of course 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 that 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. And then when you get sick, these are the things you should take when you get sick. I like to try to avoid those things.
“Like I said, it’s a lot of philosophical things. I do try to convince — talk to my teammates all the time about lifestyle choice and how that may affect their career. And everyone has a different belief system on how they want their own career to go. Some guys just want to play two years, some guys want to play four years, some guys want to play eight years. Some guys like me want to play a lot longer than that, probably because they’ve been told all their whole life they could never play. Like I said, that is something that is motivating for me, to prove people wrong.
“That’s once again, as it relates to what you alluded to earlier, a lot of me trying to play and perform at a high level over a long period of time has to do with keeping my body in a right condition to be able to do that.”
Brady acknowledged that “I treat myself at certain times to the same things that you guys probably treat yourselves to,” but he’s worked to educate himself to find out what will keep his career lasting longer.
“Balance in all things in life is a good thing,” he said. “Obviously having your body in balance is really important. Certainly keeping your arm in good shape. And it kills me to see all these pitchers having Tommy John surgery, knowing that could be avoided. Hamstring pulls and groin injuries, so many of these things that I just shake my head and I go, I can’t believe that this still happens in today’s day and age. That’s why Alex and I started TB12, because I felt based on the care that I received over 10 years, I can’t — this is what my calling will be after football, is to educate people, and what it really takes.”
Following are more highlights from the conversation. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at weei.com/patriots.
On if he has extra motivation going up against the Colts: “The way to do that is to go score as many points as possible. And that takes a lot of execution, that takes a lot of communication with your teammates in practice. That’s what I’m focused on. That’s what I’m focused on every week. I think it would be a disservice to Mr. Kraft and Jonathan and our organization if I didn’t do that every week. I think I’ve tried to be very consistent over the course of my career on my attention to detail, my levelheadedness, my poise. I think that’s been a real positive for me. Now that we’re playing the Colts, for example, it’s not like, ‘All right, well, let’s go change now.’ Look, we’ve got a good thing going for a long time. And it has to do with all things that are football-related. And things that are about kind of our poise and our discipline, our execution. That’s what wins football games. Not what you say or what your talk is or the predictions you make. Like I said, those things don’t really matter in the end. …
“We’re going to do what we do every week. We’re going to prepare as hard as we can like we always do, and we’re going to go down and try to win a game. We’re going to try to score every time we touch the ball, just like every other time in every other game. It’s no different this week than it was last week or the week before. The better our execution is, the more points we’ll score. … I’m sure they’re going to be geared up. This is a big game for them, too. It’s Sunday Night Football. There’s going to be a high level of energy and emotion. We’re going to go out there and we’re going to try to play our very best. And that’s what it’s going to take.”
On how he’s feeling after taking a few big hits Sunday: “I feel good. I kind of trained all offseason to prepare myself for hits like that. He got me obviously from the back. And it wasn’t in the best position there. But it could have been a lot worse. I’m feeling good. … I feel great. I’ll be ready to go next Sunday. I’m excited about it.”
On Greg Hardy making a comment about Brady’s wife last week: “I kind of ignore whatever someone says, or the comments. I think that’s more for the people outside to talk about. He’s a great player, and he obviously played very well yesterday. The point of the game is to go down and win the game and score more points than the other team, and that’s what my sole objective is every single week. … Like I said, whatever people may say, or comments to the media, those things have very, very, very minimal impact on me or certainly my teammates.”
On Brady’s Deflategate suspension being the same length as Hardy’s: “I didn’t think about it much, truthfully. I didn’t think about his situation. I was just kind of focused on what I had to do. Those are all things that are out of my control at the end of the day. It’s kind of wasting a lot of energy for me. For you guys, that is your job. Those are the things you talk about. For me, it has nothing to do with my job. … The more you let other things affect you, the less opportunity, the less chance you have to do what your job, which ours is to play good football.”
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