When The Trust program was first announced, I was excited and a little skeptical. Like other programs offered by the NFLPA, I was eager to fully understand its benefits and how it could really benefit me. While attending the NFLPA chapter presidents meeting, I remember listening to Bahati Van Pelt, Executive Director of The Trust, speak about the program in detail. My first thought was that the program sounded complicated but could be a tremendous resource for former players.
With great expectation, I signed up and anxiously awaited my turn to experience this new program.
I chose the Cleveland Clinic as the facility to conduct my medical evaluations. One of The Trust program coordinators contacted me to schedule my screenings. I was then put in touch with the travel coordinator, who assisted with all travel arrangements. A few days later, I was contacted by one of the clinical specialists from the Cleveland Clinic, to go over my itinerary for the days I was scheduled to be there.
I caught my flight to Cleveland with much anticipation. Upon arriving to Cleveland airport, a car service took me directly to the hotel. As I entered the hotel lobby, I was immediately impressed with the quality of the hotel and to learn that it was directly connected to the Cleveland Clinic. The hotel staff greeted me with a warm welcome and a folder containing my schedule of activities for the two-day visit. The hotel room even had a goodie bag with fruit snacks and plenty of bottled water. I also had a per diem of $25.00 per day for dinner.
Day 1 was an action-packed day. I was afforded the luxury of having an athletic trainer to accompany me to every appointment. This was incredibly helpful because I never felt lost or overwhelmed. I had my blood drawn, a nursing assessment, breakfast, an executive health examination, a neuropsychological evaluation, lunch, a physical therapy exam, a nutrition consultation, and finished with a neurology exam. Each appointment was seamless. I never had to wait for a long time to see a doctor.
On Day 2 I was eager to hear the results from all of the tests. I met the athletic trainer in the lobby in the morning. He escorted me to my follow-up appointments with the executive health doctor, balance testing, a neuropsychological interview, an MRI, a health psychologist, and a wrap up meeting to complete the medical evaluation. In each appointment, the doctors and medical professionals talked with me about my results. They all assured me that this evaluation was not the end of my care. They wanted the opportunity to follow up with me via phone and email. Lastly, they wanted to refer me to doctors in my local area that could treat me effectively so that I can achieve optimal health.
Each doctor and medical professional I had the pleasure of meeting seemed to have a genuine interest in the current state of my health.