NEW YORK - In an offseason marked by Junior Seau’s suicide and scores of lawsuits over brain injuries, the NFL on Thursday launched a comprehensive wellness program for current and retired players – including a confidential mental health phone line.
“There is no higher priority for the National Football League than the health and wellness of our players,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in an email Thursday to more than 11,000 players announcing NFL Total Wellness. “This service is here for you.”
An outside agency will run NFL Life Line, a free consultation service to inform players and family members about the signs of crisis, symptoms of common mental health problems, as well as where to get help. Experts in suicide prevention and substance abuse are among those involved in developing and administering the program.
The website for the program also features special video messages from various NFL stars, including Brett Favre, Michael Irvin, Michael Strahan, Herschel Walker, Jevon Kearse and Cris Carter, urging players to get help and letting them know they are not alone.
Shannon Jordan, president of the Gridiron Greats Assistance Fund, a charity for NFL retirees who need health care, said the program is long overdue.”
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