NEW YORK, N.Y. -- The NFL and NFL Players Association today announced two joint agreements that will support further resources directed to address pain management and behavioral health. First, the NFL and NFLPA will work together to address the challenges of pain management for our current players and work to advance and understand the science in this area to improve potential treatments. The second agreement builds on the substantial player behavioral and mental health care resources available to NFL players with additional programs directed toward education, prevention, and overall behavioral health throughout the league.
Prescription Medication and Pain Management
Behavioral and Mental Health Care
The NFL and NFLPA will form a Comprehensive Mental Health and Wellness Committee, which will develop educational programs for players, coaches, club personnel and players' family members regarding mental health and wellness. Additionally, the Committee will collaborate with local and national mental health and suicide prevention organizations to reduce stigma related to mental health and promote suicide prevention and awareness. The NFL and NFLPA will also now formally mandate that each team retains a Behavioral Health Team Clinician focused on supporting players' emotional and mental health and well-being. Each Team Clinician must possess certain minimum qualifications and be retained and jointly approved by the NFL and NFLPA by the start of Training Camp for the 2019 season. The Team Clinician is required to be available to players at the team facility for at least 8-12 hours per week, and must, among other responsibilities, conduct mandatory mental health educational sessions for players and coaching staff. The Clinician must also create and conduct team rehearsals of a Mental Health Emergency Action Plan to implement for the upcoming season.
This summer, the NFL and NFLPA will convene sessions with head team physicians, head team internal medicine physicians, head athletic trainers, Behavioral Health Team Clinicians, Pain Management Specialists, and others to discuss the requirements in both agreements, among other topics. Adherence to both agreements is mandatory across all clubs.