Fans of 31 NFL teams were treated to an early Christmas surprise this week when it was announced Tom Brady’s “medicine man” Alex Guerrero was disinvited by Bill Belichick to fly with the New England Patriots on the road and stand on the sidelines during games.
Although Guerrero still maintains an office near the Patriots’ locker room, he is apparently only allowed to treat Brady at the facility. Guerrero treats other players seeking his potions, lotions and notions at his facility around the corner from the stadium he opened with Brady several years ago to promote their “TB12 program”.
Aside from the aforementioned reason in the linked article above – we know it’s always a good thing when there’s any sort of conflict going on with the Patriots. Make no mistake, this is a big deal and Belichick can’t be happy to have this drama going on just as he’s ready to get another ring or two and a couple of bigger yachts.
This ‘air of discontent’ may even reveal teeny-tiny cracks beginning to accelerate through the Patriots organization and Belichick rightfully wants to stomp it out before it becomes a full-fledge crisis. And oh yes, the situation could become explosive if left to fester, something Belichick would never tolerate.
Again, why is this such a big deal?
Because if you know Guerrero’s history, you know he’s been sanctioned by the Food & Drug Administration and admonished by the Board of Medicine in Massachusetts. He’s been investigated more than once for making claims unsubstantiated by science.
Some of Guerrero’s “treatment recommendations” apparently also conflict from time to time with doctors and trainers about treatment approaches with players who work with both.
For the record, this is a subject near and dear to my heart. As a behavioral science researcher, writer, practitioner and oncology nurse, I worked in the forefront of developing integrated treatment plans for people with cancer and other diseases. I have deep understanding of what Guerrero is trying to do and applaud his effort to bring the spiritual and psychological aspects of healing into standard medical practice.
However, I shudder when reading some of the pseudoscience they promote claiming to have found a cure for anything from cancer to preventing concussions. I completely get why it’s rumored the team’s medical and training staff are fed up with conflicting treatment plans for players. They should be.
And just for the record, it’s been well documented the placebo effect is real.
[Please do read the previous linked article because it helps explain why unproven methods can lead to false conclusions about therapy]
Alex Guerrero and Tom Brady’s “TB12” method has to date failed to deliver any scientific evidence their approach actually works. That’s because they have yet to show through ANY rigorous scientific testing that their method “proves” their notions, potions, or lotions are in fact THE reason for Brady’s “peak performance”.
Furthermore, anyone who understands the basic principles of clinical research must roll their eyes every time Brady claims HE is proof this method works. In research, n = 1 studies (studies with only one subject) can’t be considered proof any particular “program” is beneficial to the masses.
Oh. My. Goodness.
These types of comments are why the medical and training staff must have bit their lips bloody until Belichick finally pulled the plug. And it’s exactly these types of “programs” based on pseudoscience that give the rest of us who totally support research based integrative treatment plans a bad name.
I could write a thesis on why I think Brady is vulnerable to pseudoscience but that’s a subject for another entire article. Suffice it to state there are specific reasons celebrities might find themselves easy prey for ‘practitioners’ hawking unproven treatments.
So, once again, why should any of this be relevant to 31 other fan bases?
Because it shows the fabric that’s kept this record setting Patriots dynasty rolling might just be starting to fray at the seams. And the source of friction Guerrero seemingly created with the physicians and trainers on staff to the point of Belichick being forced to take action doesn’t bode well for how this may play out in the near future.
Let’s remember Belichick was opposed to trading away Jimmy Garoppolo to the Cleveland Browns or other suitors prior to the start of the season. Then suddenly Garoppolo ends up in San Francisco with the 49ers in a trade for a second round draft pick, which someday may prove to be the start of the Patriots’ undoing.
Knowing Belichick as we do only too well in the AFC East, it’s hard to imagine him going against his tried and true principal of trading out highly paid players just as they’re starting to age out.
So this time the aging QB is kept and the future of the franchise is traded away for a second round pick?
What happens if the TB12 method fails to deliver a couple of more Super Bowl rings before Brady turns 45? What, if after all these pseudoscience claims Brady starts to show the same decline as most other quarterbacks do when they hit 40? Brady’s own father already went on record in 2015 that his son’s retirement would be an ugly process.
“It will end badly,” he (Tom Brady, Sr.) said. “It does end badly. And I know that because I know what Tommy wants to do. He wants to play till he’s 70. … It’s a cold business. And for as much as you want it to be familial, it isn’t.”
The ugly reality that there is no magic formula for eternal youth may play out in dramatic fashion at Gillette Stadium in the near future. The rest of us 31 fan bases can only hope that’s the case.
Editor’s babble: This topic obviously makes my head spin 360 degrees and want to puke green at my computer screen, so thanks for bearing with me. It’s a complete insult to the hundreds of integrative medicine professionals who are proudly and patiently producing scientifically-based programs to assist people with developing individualized complementary health plans that work! If you have any questions or can stand more of my babble, you can find me on Twitter @RobynMundyWYO. Happy Holidays to everyone reading this. /rant over.