There was a great deal of discussion on the NFL pregame shows last Sunday regarding two active players who are struggling with mental health issues and have missed several games as a result.
Professional athletes in all sports, including the NFL, have begun to speak out publicly regarding the need in this country to prioritize awareness of anxiety and mental health problems.
Pro Football Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw spoke openly on Fox NFL Sunday last weekend regarding the challenges he faces over his own mental health issues.
“Men are the worst,” Bradshaw said describing those who fail to reach out for help. “We think we have to be strong for everyone but mental illness attacks everyone regardless of size, pocketbook…The wise thing for me was that I knew there was something wrong with me and I went for help….medical help. I had three years of therapy classes to deal with it and you do so every day of your life. You just hope today is not the day it pops up. Having a support group is critical to deal with it.”
Player alumni are reminded that there is free assistance available for many of you simply by making a phone call. The new NFL-NFLPA Hospital Network Program has established a dedicated network of high-quality medical care providers in all NFL markets to offer primary medical care to eligible vested alumni under the age of 65 who no longer have paid NFL coverage under the Player Insurance Plan.
This free program pays 100% up to $25,000 in Annual Mental Health Maximums which includes mental health physician office visits and all other outpatient services. These services range from mental health screenings to coverage for partial hospitalization to appointments at physicians’ offices for family, marriage, and individual sessions. For more information, call 800-635-4625.
There also is a 24/7 NFL Help Line (800-506-0078) where trained therapists are available to address with alumni and your family issues including depression, anxiety, insomnia, alcohol abuse, and substance abuse.
We at NFL Alumni encourage all our brothers to be honest with yourselves and do not hesitate to ask for help if you are suffering from mental health symptoms.
There is no shame in any of us—ANY OF US —asking for help!