The Trust: program focused on brain health and the well-being of retired NFL players

“The Trust” is a new program for retired NFL players with brain health issues. With so much attention focused on lawsuits and policy change for young athletes we do not hear as much about the health of athletes suffering from long-term brain injuries. When the stories of the suffering are told, too often it is in the context of a sad case of suicide. This is a new program developed by the Cleveland Clinic and the National Football League Players Association featured in a video describing the program and its goal of early detection of potential physical, neurological or cognitive problems.

In a recent interview, Jay Alberts, Ph.D., director of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center stated, “Athletic injuries and sports-related brain trauma have become part of the public consciousness and are being viewed as legitimate public health problems.[i]” Alberts further stated, “Former NFL players, in particular, are at increased risk for neurological disease. The goal of this program is to identify potential problems – physical, neurological or cognitive – earlier, which may lead to earlier interventions and treatments.”

NFL players get used to VIP treatment during their careers. The Trust treats them in retirement.

Spice Adams, S.F. 49ers (2003-2007), Chicago Bears (2007-2011); Hunter Hillenmeyer, Chicago Bears (2003-2011); Chester Pitts, Houston Texans (2002-2009), Seattle Seahawks (2010)
Spice Adams, S.F. 49ers (2003-2007), Chicago Bears (2007-2011); Hunter Hillenmeyer, Chicago Bears (2003-2011); Chester Pitts, Houston Texans (2002-2009), Seattle Seahawks (2010)

In the video introducing The Trust, former Chicago Bear, Hunter Hillenmeyer, says it best, “Overnight, you go from coaches and trainers – everything mapped out for you – to a world that sometimes feels like there’s no structure and no clear purpose.” Players making the transition from active NFL careers to retired life need to adjust to life after professional football. First, The Trust offers career counseling by professionals who understand the unique background and position of a recently retired NFL player with unique talents, passions and abilities; The Trust facilitators will even help members prepare for interviews. Next, training and nutrition assessments and plans help members maintain their health and body with a workout regiment tailored to the individual. Then, brain and body treatment and travel to the top physicians and medical facilities are set up through The Trust concierge services to keep members attending to cognitive and physical health.

The website,, where you can learn more about The Trust, offers recent news in addition to sections of the site as resources for retired NFL players, namely Expert Health, Career Counseling, Healthy Living and Business Knowledge. Within the Expert Health section there is a link to Brain and Body describing the benefits provided by partnering medical centers including: initial screening; musculoskeletal/rehabilitation evaluation; cognitive and neuropsychological evaluation; transition counseling and subspecialty referral facilitation in patients’ local areas.

Specialized centers with multidisciplinary care can greatly enhance retired players with brain injuries.

The Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center, one of the provider partners of The Trust, offers concussion evaluations and management through a collaborative team effort made up of Primary Care Sports Medicine physicians, neurologists, neurosurgeons, neuropsychologists, certified athletic trainers, vestibular therapists, radiologists, neuro-ophthalmologists, and researchers, all dedicated to patient recovery[ii].

In Chicago, the Chicago Concussion Coalition of the Sports Legacy Institute, represents a network of 50 national athletic, health and social service organizations united under a common mission to work in partnership with coalition members to provide student athletes in greater Chicago with the best resources available to protect them from sports related concussions and recurring injuries.

Michael V. Favia is an advisory counsel member of the Chicago Concussion Coalition and Michael V. Favia & Associates represent clients with sports injuries. With offices conveniently located in the Chicago Loop, Northwest side and suburban meeting locations, you can schedule a meeting with an attorney at your convenience. For more about Michael V. Favia & Associates, please visit the firm’s website and feel free to “Like” the firm on Facebook and “Follow” the firm on Twitter.

[i] Cleveland. Cleveland Clinic Joins NFLPA in Player Health Initiative. By Staff, Nov. 13, 2013.

[ii] Cleveland Clinic website. Concussion Center page.