NFL initiative offers free health screenings to retired Dolphins players

MIAMI GARDENS, FLA. (WSVN) - Some former Dolphins players underwent an array of health screenings as part of a National Football League initiative.

In an attempt to improve the quality of life for retired football players, members of the NFL Player Care Foundation were at Hard Rock Stadium over the weekend.

More than 100 former players were given the opportunity to get every aspect of their health and wellness checked out.

“It’s probably about $10,000 worth of testing,” professor of sports medicine Dr. Gregory Stewart said. “It’d probably take you several months to get all of it scheduled and coordinated.”

The retired athletes were happy to see the league offer medical assistance.

“The Dolphins opened up the facility and let any former player that had one day in the league or 15 years in the league be able to come out and get this free screening,” former Dolphins wide receiver O.J. McDuffie said. “It’s super important, and I’m glad to see so many guys taking advantage of this.”

Established in 2007 to aid retired players, the PCF program has helped hundreds of players not only stay healthy but also connected.

“It’s a locker room mentality in here, and we know how manly we can be at times where, ‘Man, I gotta get my prostate checked?'” Legends community director Leonard Wheeler said. “Where now you can get your prostate checked through blood.”

The comprehensive one-stop-shop was also available for the player’s families. Even players that were just on a practice squad qualified for the services.

“In the interest of men’s health and preventive medicine, we developed a program in order to provide these services to any guy that ever was part of the NFL,” PCF program director Dana Lihan said.

All of the players who participated in the free evaluation and physicals agree that the benefits are priceless.

“If there’s any signs or any symptoms of anything that can prevent you from living a long time,” former Dolphins tight end Troy Drayton said, “these are the type of screenings that would help you recognize and get immediate treatment.”

When players leave the NFL, organizers said, prevention and early detection of any issue is key to maintaining good health.

“I go back and I think about Jim Mandich,” former Dolphins wide receiver Nat Moore said. “When he found out that he had bile-duct cancer, it was at the last minute. You just never know.”

The program is funded by current NFL on-the-field fines. Bad behavior from players translates to a good cause.

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