This week’s health and safety news from the NFL:
Former players describe benefits of NFL Player Engagement programming
The Stanford Graduate School of Business in October hosted the sixth NFL Career Transition Program, during which former players engaged in comprehensive business-oriented lectures, case studies and personality evaluations led by professors and other experts. Including the most recent session, which featured keynote speaker Stanford GSB Professor of Political Economy and former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice, more than 220 NFL players have participated in these seminars since June 2010.
The CTP is run by the NFL Player Engagement department, which has developed a variety of resources to support players’ mental health, career development, and personal enhancement. NFL Player Engagement also manages the NFL Total Wellness program, a comprehensive mental and physical health initiative for current and former players and their families. The CTP and other vocational programs, including four new boot camps announced last week, are designed to help players transition to new professions and life after their playing careers.
“With the CTP, I was looking for inspiration. Once I got there, I found exactly what I wanted: I found a path,” said former NFL running back Obafemi Ayanbadejo (1998-2007), who attended the session at Stanford. “I was inspired by the professors and the keynote speaker, Condoleezza Rice, and guys like (former NFL wide receiver and NFL Manager of Player Engagement) James Thrash, who are helping guys like myself and other players.”
“Every player someday will make the transition to a career off the field,” said NFL Vice President of Player Engagement Troy Vincent, a five-time Pro Bowl cornerback and Eagles Hall of Famer. “These programs present a unique opportunity to learn from the best and get exposed to the exciting professional possibilities that lie ahead.”
For more information, visit http://www.nflplayerengagement.com.
Ohio passes youth concussion law with NFL support
Ohio Governor John Kasich last week signed HB 143, a bill that protects young athletes and fosters head injury awareness in youth sports. The NFL actively supported the passage of this law.
HB 143 requires that a student exhibiting signs of concussion be immediately removed from play. The law prevents students from returning to play on the same day and requires that they receive written clearance by a physician or licensed health care provider. In addition, it mandates education for coaches, officials, and youth athletes and their parents or guardian on the signs and treatment of head injuries.
Similar laws in 41 other states and the District of Columbia were inspired by Zackery Lystedt. In 2006, Lystedt suffered a brain injury following his return to a middle school football game after sustaining a concussion. Lystedt, his family, and a broad range of medical, business and community partners, including the NFL, lobbied the Washington state legislature for a law to protect young athletes in all sports from returning to play too soon.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NCAA President Mark Emmert earlier this year sent letters to governors of the states that did not have concussion laws, urging them to pass a law similar to the Lystedt Law. In the letter, Commissioner Goodell and President Emmert said sports and political leaders can help raise awareness of concussions while ensuring proper and effective treatment.
House committee releases video on dangers of HGH
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a video last week — “HGH: Why Should Football Fans Care?” — on the growing risk human growth hormone (HGH) abuse poses to the health and safety of players and young fans who look up to them.
“The most important thing in cleaning up professional sports is, in fact, the trickle-down effect into college and into high school,” said Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) in the video. “Because when young people take illicit drugs hoping to get into the pros, they often destroy their lives long before they ever get there.”
– NFL Communications