The Pro Football Hall of Fame announced the formation of The Hall of Fame Behavioral Health program for current and former players to improve their quality of life by addressing their mental and emotional health.
The goal of the program is to "find comprehensive solutions through a network of mental and behavioral health services designed specifically for current and former athletes and their families."
David Baker, Pro Football Hall of Fame President and CEO listed several former and current players to serve as the program's ambassadors with him.
Along with Baker, the ambassadors are as follows: Hall of Famer members Ronnie Lott, Brian Dawkins, Steve Atwater, Andre Reed, and Tim Brown; current players Adrian Peterson (former New Orleans Saints running back) and Calais Campbell; and other former NFL players and health care advocates.
“We have to end the stigma surrounding mental health, and that includes athletes,” Dawkins said. “It’s OK to ask for help and to reach out if you are having issues. It’s OK not to be OK. But it’s not OK to stay that way — because our silence is killing us and damaging our families.”
“Hall of Fame Behavioral Health is the latest development in this growing initiative, and it might be the one addressing the greatest need,” said Jeremy Hogue, CEO of Hall of Fame Health.
The Hall of Fame Behavioral Health will be an additional resource for current and former players struggling to safeguard their mental health and families. “With Hall of Fame Behavioral Health, our mission is to make mental and behavioral health services that meet the Hall of Fame’s standards of excellence easily accessible and available not only to Hall of Famers but to every player of this game, the people who support them and the kids dreaming about one day playing in the League. The Pro Football Hall of Fame is committed to ending the stigma that surrounds asking for help and protecting our family of athletes for generations to come,” Baker said.
Wes Cain is the President and CEO of the Hall of Fame Behavioral Health initiative. Cain stated, "Our goal is to let everyone know that if you are a first-ballot Hall of Famer or a practice squad player, we hear you, and we are here to support you. No one should be left behind on their journey to live a healthy life.”
Hall of Fame Behavioral Health has partnered with these Centers of Excellence across the country:
- Ashley Addiction Treatment (Baltimore, Md.)
- Aultman Health Foundation (Canton, Ohio)
- Baylor Scott & White Health (Dallas)
- Emory Healthcare (Atlanta)
- Lindner Center of Hope (Cincinnati, Ohio)
- Nashville Recovery Center (Nashville)
- New Method Wellness (Southern California)
- Sabino Recovery (Tucson, Ariz.)
- The Becoming Counseling & Wellness (National)
- The Menninger Clinic (Houston)
- UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences (San Francisco)
- Vanderbilt Health (Nashville)
If any past or current NFL player requires financial assistance, the Hall of Fame Behavioral Health has partnered with the HART Foundation to provide grants and funding to ensure those who need help can receive it – no matter their economic situation.
Additional details regarding the Hall of Fame Behavioral Health program are located at ProfootballHOF.org.