78% of NFL retirees have “gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of HEALTH, joblessness or divorce” within two years of their careers ending.

– 2009 Sports Illustrated Study



Transitioning to life after the NFL is far from simple – in fact, for many, it is debilitating. More than a career change, it is a complete lifestyle overhaul and athletes who have spent their life living for and around the game find the world outside vastly different. They are raised in a system where daily routine and structure are set for them – where their meals, workout routines, training schedules, travel arrangements and even work attire are decided for them. They are part of a team – a brotherhood. When that phase of their life ends, they are woefully unprepared for the transition. The Golden Heart Fund seeks to be that bridge.

“It’s hard because they spend the rest of their lives being shadows of who they were at 25.”

– Roman Oben (12yr NFL Veteran) ESPN by Jeffri Chadiha

“78% of NFL retirees have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress because of joblessness or divorce within two years of their career ending.”

– 2009 Sports Illustrated study



NFL players are groomed from an early age to compete at the highest level. Their dedication to the game and discipline to compete against the world’s best athletes is evident on the field. However, they are hindered in their long-term planning by a number of potential pitfalls: (1) Lack of competent financial planning advice and/or opportunistic individuals who take advantage of the athletes’ lack of experience and knowledge around managing their finances, (2) Supporting a village. Some athletes feel obliged or are pressured to provide financial support to family, extended family and friends, (3) Divorce or familial stress resulting from the challenges of the demands of the NFL lifestyle, (4) Lack of awareness or realism around how quickly a career can end without warning, and (5) Lack of planning for or experience related to a post-football career.

Leigh Steinberg for Forbes Magazine (Feb. 9, 2015)



On a daily basis, NFL players put their bodies on the line. They push themselves to their physical limits in order to reach peak performance. When an NFL player takes time off for an injury, they risk losing their role on the team – their job, their livelihood. While they may be able to “work through” today’s injury, the rigor of their training and the physical toll the game takes on them makes them more susceptible to long term health issues. And it doesn’t stop when they leave the field. Practices, gamedays, in the community, with their families – on and off the field, these superior athletes bring all they have to offer to everything they do for their team, fans and family. Cumulatively, these factors put retired NFL players at a far greater risk for long-term health challenges than the typical individual.

“1 in 3 retired NFL players are expected to develop long-term cognitive problems.”