Sportsman-turned-actor Terry Crews has credited his screen career with saving his life because he is convinced learning lines has prevented any brain deterioration from all of the hard knocks he took on the football field.

The former linebacker, who played professionally in America's National Football League (Nfl) for four years in the early 1990s, recalls suffering a bad concussion during one game in his days as a San Diego Charger - and The Expendables star is sure the head injury could have caused serious damage to his brain in later years had he not taken up acting to keep his mind active.

During an appearance on America's The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Thursday (04Apr13), the 44 year old said, "Acting saved my life because it allows you to use your brain. A lot of ball players when they're done, they never really exercise the brain anymore... but learning lines, learning jokes, doing stuff like this (talk shows), it makes you exercise your brain, it's like a muscle, and that's one reason why I haven't shown any deterioration yet."

Crews' comments come four months after researchers at the U.S. National Institute of Health found that former Chargers icon Junior Seau had been suffering from a degenerative brain disease at the time of his suicide last year (May12). The late football star reportedly shot himself in the chest to preserve his brain so scientists could examine the tissue to determine whether he suffered any longterm effects from his years on the football field.