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NFL makes specialists available for retired players with spinal injuries

NEW YORK -- The NFL is starting a spinal treatment program for retired players.

The league will make specialists available at five hospitals across the United States to evaluate and treat retirees with spinal injuries. It will be available to any player whose pension is vested, which comes after he has played three seasons plus four games.

The hospitals involved in the program are Mount Sinai in New York, the Emory University Orthopaedics and Spine Hospital in Atlanta, UCLA Health System in Los Angeles, the University of California in San Francisco and Washington University in St. Louis.

Each medical center provides an orthopedic spinal surgeon who will direct the program and also includes a neurosurgeon. Players who can't afford treatment can receive financial aid from the NFL Player Care Foundation.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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