NFL and NFLPA to employ league-wide mental health program — 5 insights

Orthopedic Sports Medicine

The NFL and NFL Players Association have announced a new program requiring every team to employ a mental health professional, reports ESPN.

The initiative could potentially open the door for a change in the NFL's attitude towards marijuana as a pain management treatment.

Five insights:

1. The NFL and NFLPA have formed a mental health and wellness committee and a joint pain management committee, which will begin research into pain management and alternative therapies.

2. According to a statement from the NFL, the pain management committee's goal is to "uniform standards for club practices and policies regarding pain management and the use of prescription medication by NFL players."

3. CMO of the NFL Allen Sills, MD, told ESPN: "There's a lot of discussion about not only cannabis but cannabinoid compounds, CBD, and it's something that healthcare providers are exploring outside of football. That type of research will certainly be part of the mission of this committee."

4. The committee dovetails with the creation of the prescription drug monitoring program which will observe player prescriptions from both team physicians and outside physicians and demands every team employ a pain management specialist before the 2019 campaign.

5. The mental health and wellness committee will also establish educational mental health programs for players and family members to reduce stigma and promote suicide prevention and awareness.

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