NFLPA Launches "Your Mind, Your Body, Your Health" Wellness Campaign
Holistic-based initiative to encourage player dialogue about mental, emotional and physical health
WASHINGTON, D.C. – As part of its continued efforts to promote the overall wellness of professional football players, the NFL Players Association is launching “Your Mind, Your Body, Your Health” during May’s Mental Health Awareness Month.
The Your Health website will provide a platform for players, their families and other loved ones to share real stories while helping to educate and empower themselves about their mental, physical and emotional well-being. By correcting misinformation about CTE and debunking common myths, the campaign will help foster a conversation among players regarding mental health.
To begin this necessary dialogue, the NFLPA brought together several players and spouses to discuss their thoughts and experiences around depression, the stigma of mental health in professional football, concussions and transition from the playing field. Among those featured in the compelling panel videos are former NFL players Jermaine Lewis (Baltimore Ravens), Brian Mitchell (Washington Redskins), Keith O’Neil (Indianapolis Colts), Brian Schaefering (Cleveland Browns) and George Wrighster (Jacksonville Jaguars), along with Latasha Batch (wife of former NFL quarterback Charlie Batch), Dawn Neufeld (wife of former NFL tight end Ryan Neufeld), Danisha Wrighster (wife of George Wrighster) and Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher (sports neurologist and NFLPA advisor).
“As someone who played a long time and saw a lot of different things, I felt that it was a must that I participated in these videos,” said Mitchell, who played 14 seasons in the NFL. “It presented the chance to shed light on what some players deal with and a chance to speak on behalf of some players who may not feel comfortable in this arena. The dialogue about mental health is extremely important to let players know that, even though they may be dealing with this issue, they are not alone. It also lets outsiders know that athletes deal with mental health issues just like regular people.”
Through this initiative, the NFLPA is excited to adopt an even greater commitment to improving player health and safety while bringing a holistic perspective to the discussion. With May being Mental Health Awareness Month and June being Men’s Health Month, “Your Mind, Your Body, Your Health” will produce and share relevant content, such as informative videos and written material, to create another space to communicate about the correlation between mental and physical health.
The Your Health campaign will further the NFLPA’s active participation in the ongoing conversation about player wellness. From partnering with Harvard University to find innovative solutions for common conditions affecting football players to hosting the wellness town hall during Super Bowl Week, the NFLPA is constantly seeking ways to improve the lives of its player members both on and off the field.
“There are lots of myths out there about CTE, so we’re excited about how far our organization has come in creating a space for players to talk about how they feel emotionally,” said Andre Collins, executive director of the union’s Professional Athletes Foundation and former NFL player. “We encourage players to seek guidance at the beginning of any symptoms to get a full understanding of what may or may not be happening to their brains. With concerns about CTE and the stigma that still surrounds mental health, this campaign will help us expand that conversation among players so that they are comfortable talking about it with each other as well as their loved ones.”
For more information, please visit nflpa.com/yourhealth.
About the NFL Players Association:
The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020. Learn more at www.nflpa.com.