June 13, 2024

Lang concluded his career after the 2018 season, having spent two years with the Detroit Lions. “When you’re a big, burly athlete there’s part of you that takes pride in keeping things to yourself and looking like you’re put together,” Lang said. Lang played in Green Bay for eight seasons. “The world has changed now. The NFL and teams are doing a wonderful job of making sure their players are in the appropriate frame of mind, and I think that’s great.

Giants QB Tyrod Taylor staying at hospital overnight for evaluation after  injuring rib cage vs. Jets | AP News

“There’s ultimate pressure in this sport. Sometimes people fail, and sometimes people need help. The more that teams encourage and normalize it, the better.”

The NFL and NFL Players Association in 2019 agreed to make it a requirement to have a licensed behavioral health clinician on the staff of each team in an effort to increase mental health resources.

“It was pivotal in terms of setting a standard,” said Amber Cargill, director of wellness at the NFLPA.

The Kansas City Chiefs, who will face the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 11, are one of several teams in the league with a full-time professional dedicated to mental health.

In an attempt to improve mental health resources, the NFL and NFL Players Association decided in 2019 to mandate that each team employ a licensed behavioral health clinician.

“It was pivotal in terms of setting a standard,” said Amber Cargill, director of health at the NFLPA.

The Kansas City Chiefs, who will meet the San Francisco 49ers in the Super Bowl on Feb. 11, are one of several clubs in the league employing a full-time professional committed to mental health.

There has been a steadily increasing number of players taking advantage of the opportunity to talk with mental health professionals ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, the league and union say.

“Post-pandemic, we’ve seen an uptick in the willingness to have conversations about getting help and a normalizing of challenges like anxiety and depression,” Nyaka NiiLampti, the NFL’s vice president of clinical and wellness services, said in a recent telephone interview. “There’s also an increase in the recognition that you can’t have optimal physical performance if you’re not optimizing mental performance.”

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