Olympians and Professional Athletes are setting new standards for personal care and well-being to protect their mental health, disrupting intense pressure and expectation
Athletes for CARE (“A4C” or the “Organization”) is a nonprofit organization working since 2017 with current and former athletes to address the long term impact of the mental and physical toll a career in sport takes on athletes. A4C advocates for the removal of stigmas surrounding mental health and personal well-being in sport, as well as for treatment options. A4C applauds and supports the challenging decisions made by Olympic athletes like Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka in the past weeks to protect their mental health and well-being. Their outspoken bravery sets a precedent encouraging others to reinforce that no athlete must suffer alone in silence on, or after leaving, the world stage.
A4C is committed to fostering resilience and support for mental health challenges faced by current and former professional athletes. To further this mission, the organization is proud to announce a collaboration with the Post-Game Players’ Lounge (“PPL” or the “Partner”), a program devoted to supporting retired athletes who are finding themselves, for the first time, in a world that isn’t solely dominated by participation in professional and team sport.
“PPL is excited to collaborate with A4C to help bring the mental health aspect of athletics to the forefront! While traditional sports psychology focuses on athletes’ success on the field, PPL is shifting their focus to helping athletes succeed off the field,” says Dr. Shannon McHugh, PsyD., co-founder of PPL.
“Athletes for CARE is committed to helping athletes find success in life after a career in sport,” said Anna Valent, Executive Director A4C. “We have worked for years on a one-on-one basis to address barriers to success and help athletes find support, opportunity and purpose in life after a career in sport. We are excited to work with the Post-Game Players’ Lounge to bring this program that focuses on mental health at no charge to any athlete from any sport.”
“A4C was there to support me through some dark times after my football career ended.” said Jamie Brown, A4C Athlete Ambassador and NFL Superbowl Champion. “I am excited that A4C and PPL are partnering to create a safe space where you can share anything in a group of people who understand how you are feeling. It helps connect the dots whether you are struggling with finances, or purpose or anything.”
The program, led by former athletes who are now mental health professionals, includes a 16-week program for athletes and will grow to include programs for spouses, partners and families of athletes. Athletes who complete the program will also be invited to participate in a leadership development program to continue their mental health journey. In addition to the weekly program, athletes needing additional support will receive individual care plans that will also be supported through A4C. Many athletes struggle with mental, physical, and financial health during and after a career in sport. It is difficult to navigate how and where to get help, especially when coming from a unique industry and usually without a transition plan or health insurance.
About Athletes for CARE
Athletes for CARE (A4C) is a nonprofit organization launched in 2017 by passionate retired professional athletes who recognized the need to advocate for the health, safety and wellness of more than 2 billion people of all ages who compete annually in sanctioned sports globally. Through that advocacy, we are improving health and wellness options for the billions of people around the world living with mental and physical illnesses including chronic pain, depression, anxiety, PTSD, CTE, TBI, substance abuse and opioid dependency.
About Post-Game Players Lounge
The Players’ Lounge was created with a collaboration between psychologists Dr. Shannon McHugh and Dr. Jesi Sasaki, B.J. Williams, the founder of Can I Be Vulnerable (an organization aimed toward reducing the stigma of mental health for black men and boys), and occupational therapist Dr. Madison Harris, who specializes in helping athletes with their retirement transition. Started as a safe space for former NFL players to come together and talk about their mental health and post-career journey, now turned into a program that all former athletes can access and benefit from as they transition out of their athletic career. PPL provides mental wellness tips and techniques to group members and collaborate with partnering neuropsychologists and occupational therapists to provide relatable information to help athletes develop a playbook for retirement that prioritizes their mental and physical wellness post-sport.