Lately, thanks to top athletes like tennis star Naomi Osaka and gymnastics legend Simone Biles, mental health has become a major focal point in the sports world. It’s not exactly shocking that the effort to take the mental and emotional strain of competition into account has been led by women, because, despite the gains that have been made, many men still feel they can’t discuss those kinds of things. A new partnership between the Pro Football Hall of Fame and sports reporter Jay Glazer’s MVP organization should help erase that stigma. Glazer works at Fox Sports and is up close and personal with football players every day.
“There’s still a stigma that it’s not OK to not be OK,” Glazer said. “We’ve got to change that.”
This past weekend, the NFL Hall of Fame welcomed its latest class, led by quarterback Peyton Manning and head coach Jimmy Johnson. Announcing this collaboration with Glazer’s MVP foundation during their biggest weekend of the year is pretty meaningful, and is hopefully an indication of how seriously they’re taking this.
“It’s truly one of the honors of my life to announce this partnership,” Glazer said in a release. “To be able to use my own struggles and turn those hardships into an effort that helps these warriors — from former players to former service members — is unbelievable for me. And to join with the Pro Football Hall of Fame in this effort is just incredible. We change lives, and together we will make an even bigger impact.”
Over the years, plenty of football players have struggled during their time on the field and after leaving the game behind. The Hall of Fame Behavioral Health assists players in a wide variety of ways. From post-career transition, identity issues, addiction to anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. According to Pro Football Talk, in the two days since this announcement, three players have already reached out for help.
The issue has never been that men and athletes don’t have mental health struggles, it’s that they haven’t had the tools with which to combat it. Now they do.