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NFL players may face mental illnesses, encouraged to seek help

It is most employers or organization heads' priority to ensure the physical and mental health of their employee. However, workplace illnesses can strike any worker, regardless of the nature of the job or the worker. The NFL Commissioner has recently expressed concern over the mental health of NFL players.

North Carolina residents may be surprised to hear that NFL has not only been plagued with lawsuits over brain injuries this year, but a player's suicide put in context the importance of dealing with depression and mental illnesses before they escalate.

More than 2,400 NFL former players are suing the NFL for not shielding them against the long-term consequences of recurring blows to the head. They claim that despite medical evidence demonstrating a link between health problems later on and head trauma, the NFL did not safeguard them. According to one of the players in the suit, he suffered cognitive difficulties, including depression, sleep problems, fatigue, headaches and dizziness.

A former All-Pro's suicide earlier this year led to the NFL and the player's union's conclusion that they could take more steps to provide mental health services, including educating players and family members about the symptoms of crisis and common mental health problems. The free consultation services will also include information on where to get help. Even though there were previous services in place, this one differs from them as it is a confidential one.

There are also efforts to remove the social stigma involved with asking for help for a mental health illness and players are encouraging other players to step forward and talk to one another.

A workplace injury or illness, sustained on the football field or in an office space, requires medical attention. Not every employee will be fortunate enough to have a free health service provided. North Carolina residents struggling with an injury or illness should consider filing a workers' compensation claim to recover medical costs and wage replacement.

Source: Sports Illustrated, "NFL launches wellness program for players," July 26, 2012

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