NFL added to brain-injury program for military veterans
LANSING, Mich. -- A brain-injury treatment program originally designed for military veterans injured on the battlefield has been updated to include professional athletes.
Representatives with the Eisenhower Center announced Tuesday that it will be the primary facility used by the NFL Players Association for treating brain injuries and other neurological issues through the After the Impact program.
The residential neuro-rehabilitation facility is based in Ann Arbor.
The program provides intense treatment for soldiers and athletes recovering from concussions, mild traumatic brain injury, post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems. It evolved from the Eisenhower Center's transitional treatment program to help military members deal with brain injuries.
The NFL expects 6,000 of nearly 20,000 retired players - or 28 percent - to suffer from Alzheimer's disease or at least moderate dementia someday. Former players have sued.
Current Detroit Lions tight end Joseph Fauria and former quarterback Eric Hipple attended Tuesday's announcement.
''Nearly one-third of all retired NFL players will suffer from a long-term cognitive problem,'' Hipple said. ''The players and veterans who have gone through the After the Impact program have learned a lot from each other and helped each other on the path to recovery.''
The NFL last month urged a judge to approve an estimated $1 billion settlement of concussion lawsuits despite concerns raised by former players or survivors who felt left out. The 65-year fund would resolve thousands of lawsuits that accuse the NFL of long hiding what it knew about concussions and brain injuries to keep players on the field.
The issue is a significant one in hockey too. In October, a consolidated class-action lawsuit by former NHL players against the league over concussion-related injuries was filed in federal court.