PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE FAQS
Q. WHAT ARE MY BENEFITS FROM THE NFL AND NFLPA?
A. ATIF has generated a list of benefits provided through the NFL and NFLPA. If you have any questions we will do our best to answer them or direct you appropriately. Click here to DOWNLOAD PDF.
Q. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACING FORMER PRO ATHLETES?
A. (1) Culture: In order to best understand the challenges, you first have to understand pro football structure and culture.
Much like the military, the life of a pro athlete is structured in such a way that his food/shelter/financial/and medical needs are all taken care of, so he can fully focus on training and winning football games. This starts for some at a very young age and continues through high school, college and on to the pros.
And training/playing/and physical fitness are performed on set days/during set times/wearing the same uniform/and all of them are performed to an excellence standard as outlined in a playbook.
Everything is in black and white - there’s no grey area.
(2) Team: Additionally, for pro athletes its all about the team and doing everything as a team - not as an individual. This “team-first mentality” equates to a high level of camaraderie.
(3) Transition: When that football career is over, isolation can easily set in because it’s no longer about the team - it’s about the individual. The sense of camaraderie is gone. Your support network is gone and you are no longer a “celebrity.” You have to quickly learn and adjust to how the civilian job market works; medical care is not as easily accessible; and the pressure to support your family continues to mount. Many players didn’t make the large dollars being made today, and even with the current and recently retired players, that money doesn’t go as far as you think after taxes, agents, managers, family members, etc. take their piece. When you start compounding these challenges one on top of the other, it can be overwhelming.
(4) Brain Injury: By the numbers, the brain injuries and repeated head trauma suffered on the playing field, lead to some staggering statistics. Relative to the general population, NFL players are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with ALS or Alzheimer’s Disease; 19 times more likely to be diagnosed with a memory-related disease between the ages of 30-49; 23 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease of Dementia between the ages of 50-59; and 35 times more likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or Dementia between the ages of 60-64.
There is nothing black and white about traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress, or suicide - they all fall into that grey area spoken of earlier. So the challenges are plentiful and the answers to how to best combat these challenges are complex and have many layers to them.
Q. WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES FACING FORMER PLAYER FAMILIES?
A. Life after football means quickly having to adjust to how the civilian job market works; medical care is not as easily accessible; and the pressure to support your family continues to mount, while the player has suddenly gone from a lifetime of virtual celebrity to being a “has been” at a relatively very young age. Then add repeated head trauma from concussive and sub-concussive hits over their lifetime. When you start compounding these challenges one on top of the other, it can be overwhelming for both players…AND their families.
Family members may not fully understand what their loved one is going through; they may not be able to find the appropriate help, or even know who to ask for that help. And all of this takes an emotional toll on the family members as well - not just the player.
Q. WHAT DOES AFTER THE IMPACT FUND MEAN FOR THE PLAYER?
A. For the player, After the Impact Fund could mean being a part of our 30-45 day, residential therapeutic treatment program, which takes place in a safe, confidential, non-judgmental environment. It means maximum privacy, to include home-cooked meals and private bedrooms. It means rehab associates being present 24-hours a day; it means intensive individual and group therapies; vocational programming, and a staff to maintain that personal connection after they leave the center.
Q. DOES THE NFL OR NFLPA COVER THE COST OF THIS PROGRAM? WILL MY INSURANCE COVER THE COST OF THIS PROGRAM?
A. Every player’s situation is different in terms of eligibility and access and what your insurance covers. Please contact us today so we can get a better understanding of your situation, needs, and benefits.