Tulane Medical one of 4 places in U.S. taking care of former NFL players

Tulane to study NFL injuries

NEW ORLEANS - NFL football players are used to having health care and team doctors on the job, but it's a whole new system when they retire.

After 10 years in the NFL, former Saints player, Jabari Greer is now the father of five and a broadcaster and sports analyst. Like so many former players who have lived in a world of football since childhood, the transition can be jarring.

"Coming out of the game of football, you realize that it was a job, and it was great, but then it's not really the majority of people's reality," said Greer. 

Jabari has turned to The Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine, one of only four medical facilities in the U.S. chosen by the NFL Players Association, to take care of the physical and mental health needs of former players.

"The team that we've assembled, we truly feel like this is our calling, that this is part of what we're supposed to be doing. So for us, it's very exciting," said Dr. Greg Stewart, Tulane's Director of Sports Medicine. He is also Director of the Brain and Body Program and an Associate Professor of Orthopedics. 

The Trust, as it's called, pays for former players from all over the U.S., to come in and stay in New Orleans. They get three days of comprehensive physical, neurological and behavioral evaluation. It's all put in a binder with resources of where they can get treatment back home. What's different, players say, is this medical staff focuses on the unique patient needs of today, rather than the fact that patient was former football star.

"It provides you with a safe atmosphere, anonymity, as well as gives you the benefits that you need moving forward," said Greer, who has chosen to stay with Tulane's programs for all of his care.

"Generally, what we see is these guys have hard time transitioning from being a professional athlete back to normal everyday life," said Dr. Stewart.

The Trust helps with health and quality of life after a career that asked a lot of their orthopedic health,  and new skills for new jobs and relationships after a career where millions gave you accolades for physical force.

"That's another challenge too, where a lot of people don't have that preparation and those skills to be able to translate," said Dr. Jenna Rosen, a Clinical Psychologist at the program. 

"Having the resource, the psychosocial, the mental health resource in The Trust is so critical because it helps you hash out a lot of the issues that you may not even know that you're dealing with," said Greer.

It means these men, who may have felt invincible, keep getting those regular check ups that so many put off.  

In the last three years, 300 former players have been through the program at Tulane.

The other Trust clinics are in Ohio, North Carolina and Massachusetts. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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