The Trust is designed to provide an ecosystem of support for former players, with an emphasis on overall health and successful transition from professional football. In a conference call Wednesday, the organization expressed its goal to provide excellent customer service. “We’re here to serve — we feel that is the best way for players to transition,” said Bahati VanPelt, the Executive Director of The Trust. “We want to make sure we’re meeting their needs. This is not about a menu of services. This is not about a website and a 1-800 number. It is about building relationships, not transactions.”
The Trust staff counsels players through a wellness plan across six primary pillars: Brain and Body Health, Career Transition and Development, Education and Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, and Personal Interaction.
VanPelt acknowledged a misconception that many have of all former players struggling and not transitioning well when they leave the game. “That is not true,” he said. “While we do hear the stories of some players not transitioning well, there are many stories of players that do transition successfully and move on to a successful career beyond football. We want to make sure we tell those stories and that we build those online communities where players can engage through the website and social media. There they can interact with each other, so that not only will they be inspired by each other, but they can in turn want to tell their own story as well.”
The Trust has appointed captains for player outreach which consists of former player leaders with a commitment to continue serving beyond the game. Charlie Batch serves as the Senior Captain, while Jeff Saturday, Donnie Edwards, Erik McMillan and Sam Gash each serve as a Regional Captain.
DeMaurice Smith, Executive Director of the NFLPA said, “Throughout the collective bargaining process, active NFL players were committed to setting aside resources for professional programs and support to help them succeed in their careers beyond football. We are proud that we can begin implementing that important vision through The Trust.”
Some of the nation’s premiere organizations and providers have partnered with The Trust, such as Athletes’ Performance, Athlife, Babson College, Cleveland Clinic, Financial Finesse, Hillard Heintze, SCORE, Tulane University and Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine and The University of North Carolina’s Brain and Body Health Program.
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