PHILADELPHIA — A desire to be perfect has caused anxiety problems for Brandon Brooks.
The Philadelphia Eagles’ starting right guard spoke openly Wednesday about an issue that forced him to miss two of the past three games. Brooks originally thought his condition was a stomach disorder.
“I have an anxiety condition, not nervousness or fear of the game,” Brooks said. “I have an obsession with the game. It’s an unhealthy obsession right now and I’m working with team doctors to get everything straightened out and getting the help that I need.”
Brooks said the problems causes him to vomit to the point he was hospitalized before Philadelphia played a Monday night game against Green Bay on Nov. 28. Brooks also experienced the symptoms before last Sunday’s game against Washington.
The 27-year-old Brooks is now taking medication for the anxiety issues and is also seeing a counselor.
“I’m not ashamed of it,” Brooks said. “I’m getting the help I need. I’m taking steps now. First, once you’ve got an issue or problem, you’ve got to admit it. I admit it, I accept it, I own it. Get the medication I need to tone it down, talk to somebody, figure out why I’m constantly searching to be perfect.”
Brooks signed a $40 million, five-year contract with the Eagles after four seasons in Houston. He started the first 10 games in his first season in Philadelphia before sitting out two of the next three games.
“For me, it’s just I always want to be perfect in what I do and if I’m not perfect it’s not good enough, and sometimes that just really weighs on you,” he said. “I have to learn how to kind of chill out and understand it’s OK to make mistakes. It’s OK to not be perfect.”
Brooks was diagnosed with a stomach ulcer when he experienced similar symptoms playing for the Texans. He sought help after the recent episodes.
“I thought it was something physical in my stomach, so I didn’t know it could possibly be something else,” he said. “What happens is, I wake up at 4 or 5 in the morning — not to be too graphic — but uncontrollable vomiting and there’s nothing the doctors can give me once it happens that stops it. It goes for a full 24 hours. That’s what happens.”
Brooks expects to play Sunday when the Eagles (5-8) visit Baltimore (7-6).
“The organization has been great, they’ve supported me with this, my teammates have rallied around me,” Brooks said.