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UNC partners with NFL to provide support for former players

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The NFL Players Association has selected the UNC as one of three academic medical centers to provide brain and body assessments for former players. The NFL Players Association has selected the UNC as one of three academic medical centers to provide brain and body assessments for former players.
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. -

The NFL Players Association has selected the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as one of three academic medical centers to provide brain and body assessments for former players.

NFLPA unveiled its new program, called "The Trust," last week. The program is designed to provide support for former players, with an emphasis on overall health and successful transition from professional football.

UNC's Brain and Body Health Program, which was created by the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes in the College of Arts and Sciences in collaboration with the School of Medicine, was selected to be a medical partner of The Trust to provide former NFL players with an evaluation and treatment plan for their cognitive and physical functioning.

Other medical partners in The Trust are Tulane University and the Cleveland Clinic.

UNC has treated between 10 and 15 players over the last 18 months, but that was by request only.

"If the players or the Players Association felt that a patient needs to be evaluated, we treated them or evaluated them," explained Michael Lee, co-director of the Brain and Body Health Program.

Now it has expanded into a formal program through the NFLPA.

UNC has made a name for itself through the research Kevin Guskiewicz has done into concussions through the Brain and Body Health Program and Center for the Study of Retired Athletes.

"The information that we get from his research obviously plays a vital role, and of course from our experience it will also play a vital role in his direction to research," Lee explained.

It is unclear how many players will come through the program, but Lee anticipates about 150 a year.

"We want to take care of the former players as the best way we can," Lee said. "Through the clinical experience and research, we'll hopefully be able to take better care of them."

As the program expands, the UNC clinical team will involve clinical partners from NorthShore Hospital in Evanston, Ill.; and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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