Brain health program for retired NFL players

Brain health program for retired NFL players

The NFL Players Association is investing in the health of retired players.

Wednesday, announcing a collaboration with three medical centers to help diagnose, manage and improve the neurological and overall health of former pros.

The program is called 'The Trust,' and Cleveland Clinic's Dr. Jay Alberts helped design it.

"This is a clinical program that really focuses on neurological health of the players and maintaining that health from a long term perspective," said Jay Alberts, Ph.D. at the Cleveland Clinic.

Retired players will have a full neurological exam, including a brain scan, and will work with a team of medical professionals to diagnose and personalize individual treatment plans.

Baselines for cognitive, motor and social function will be recorded and compared over time.

If any change is noticed from the baseline, doctors can evaluate and intervene if necessary.

The ultimate goal is to slow the progress of potential degenerative brain disease that may exist from repetitive head trauma suffered during their careers.

"This is a population somewhat identified as at risk for neurological disease," said Dr. Alberts. "So, our approach has been to, and will be to, look at this population and see if we can identify potential declines or diseases earlier."

Dr. Alberts stresses that 'The Trust' is not a research project, but says it puts an added emphasis on the concussion conversation at all levels.

"It raises awareness and hopefully, while simultaneously, we can learn from it and simultaneously improve what we're doing now as far as youth sports, college and professional as well." 

'The Trust' will be available to former players in early December.

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