GET THE NFL TO "GO PURPLE" IN THE MONTH OF SEPTEMBER TO RAISE ALZHEIMER'S AWARENESS!
Since 2000, deaths from Alzheimer's have risen 68% while deaths from other major diseases such as heart disease, breast cancer, and HIV have decreased. This is no coincidence! Research for these diseases receives significantly more funding than Alzheimer's—last year, the National Institute of Health spent 5.8 billion dollars on cancer and 4.3 billion dollars on heart disease but only 500 million on Alzheimer’s. The nearest figure I could verify for the NFL was in 2011, and they made 9.5 billion dollars. The initiative for the NFL to GO PURPLE in the month of September for Alzheimer's Awareness makes sense on so many levels.
In the month of September—Alzheimer’s Awareness Month— the NFL can “go purple” just as they “go pink” in October for Breast Cancer Awareness. This act of support is beneficial in many ways: 1. It will help raise awareness about a disease that is often left out of the national conversation with regard to healthcare. 2. Raised awareness means increased efforts in fundraising and research. 3. Current players can rest assured knowing that their employers care not only about their performance on the field for the short time they play but also about their health and well-being long after they’ve retired from the game. 4. Former players and their families will no longer feel discarded by the NFL as they face issues of memory loss and confusion.
Here are some figures: 5.4 million Americans have Alzheimer’s—the sixth leading cause of death. Why every participant in the NFL should care—from referees to players to coaches to owners: “In a study of more than 3,400 retired National Football League (NFL) players, the researchers found that death rates from the two brain diseases [Alzheimer’s and Lou Gehrig’s Disease] were four times higher than those in the general U.S. population” (Reuter’s). Alzheimer’s care costs 183 billion dollars annually and that figure is projected to soar to 1.1 trillion dollars by the year 2050. Aside from the obvious healthcare and financial crises we face due to Alzheimer’s Disease, the fact remains that no person, no family should ever have to experience the heartbreaking effects of Alzheimer’s.
Many former NFL players and their families have so much to share with regard to their experiences with Alzheimer’s. Take the time to listen. Show them that you care. Show them that they are not alone in their battle—that their careers in football meant more than just the physical sacrifices they made for love of the game and love of their teams and love of their fans. Give to them what they gave to the game of football.