The NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation has inked a two-year agreement with Epic Risk Management and the GVC Foundation US to create, market, and launch live and virtual educational programs for all members.

Commenting in a media statement that “problem gambling and off-field issues have plagued professional athletes across sports since their inception,” former players will now attend responsible gambling and sports integrity sessions presented by former athletes on an ongoing basis.

“This is the first program that the NFLPA/PAF has ever run on problem gambling education and awareness,” noted Andre Collins, executive director of the NFLPA Professional Athletes Foundation

“As the first major professional sports league in the US to undertake this project, we’re proud to tackle this issue head-on. We urge all sports leagues to address problem gambling with the seriousness it deserves.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Epic Risk Management and GVC Foundation US will create the program content, which will be tailored to meet the mental health needs of former NFL players, while the NFLPA/PAF will advertise, market, and coordinate the delivery of the program.

“Problem gambling is often described as a hidden addiction. The signs are difficult to spot, yet the effects can be devastating,” commented Paul Buck, CEO of Epic Risk Management

“Proactive education offered to vulnerable populations is crucial for curbing problem gambling. We plan to educate former NFL players through motivational talks provided by former professional athletes who’ve experienced the consequences of problem gambling, first-hand.”

This latest agreement builds upon the ongoing US-based strategy of Epic and the GVC Foundation, with the two also partnering with the Division on Addiction at Cambridge Health Alliance, a Harvard Medical School teaching hospital, to conduct research about elite athletes’ relationships with problem gambling.

“The gambling industry has a moral responsibility to look after consumers and ensure their wellbeing,” added Martin Lycka, trustee of GVC Foundation US and director of regulatory affairs for GVC Holdings.

Those with gambling disorders and addictive tendencies deserve our unyielding support, and this program is a perfect extension of our mission to provide that.”