At a time when many people are struggling to mentally cope with COVID-19 and turning to substances to get by, the NFL Alumni Association (NFLA) has partnered with American Addiction Centers (AAC) to provide a lifeline to former players and their families. Effective immediately, NFL alumni, their spouses and children will be eligible to receive a scholarship for treatment at AAC’s Desert Hope Treatment Center in Las Vegas. Desert Hope’s CEO, Derek Price, is a former Detroit Lions tight end and understands the challenges facing former professional athletes.


For more about the partnership, visit

Price says


“As a former NFL player, I’ve watched fellow athletes struggle with substance use, and to now be in a position to help them means the world to me. At Desert Hope, we’ve seen an extraordinary number of people seeking help for the first time or relapsing because of the stress, anxiety and isolation caused by COVID-19. We want these former athletes to know whatever they are facing right now, they are not alone and they have a place to turn.”


Studies have shown that professional athletes are at risk for drug and/or alcohol addiction. One study conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research found the rate of heavy drinking and binge drinking among NFL retirees was slightly higher than the general population. Nearly 14% of young retirees admitted to binge drinking and nearly 5% of them had received treatment for alcohol addiction. Another study,“Injury, pain, and prescription opioid use among former National Football League (NFL) players,” reported that over half (52%) used opioids during their NFL career with 71% reporting misuse. Additionally, 15% of former NFL players who misused opioids continue to misuse them.


“This is an extraordinary offer from Desert Hope,” said NFLA CEO Beasley Reece. “Many NFL players learn to self-medicate early on in their careers, and unfortunately, this can lead to addiction. The NFL Alumni is fortunate to have one of its own in a position of great responsibility. Derek Price is helping teammates battle substance abuse. During these difficult times, NFL players have a trusted place to turn to, knowing their dignity and privacy is safe. It takes a team to provide successful treatment. Addiction is an isolating disease, but we are asking our guys to reach out for support. Thanks to American Addiction Centers’ Desert Hope, you don’t have to do this alone.”


Through this partnership, former players and their families will have access to a range of services at Desert Hope, including medical detox, residential treatment and outpatient telehealth options. The addiction treatment provider also offers many high-end amenities, from gourmet meals by a world-class chef to an indoor fitness center and hotel-style accommodations.


“Our patients can trust they will receive high-quality care in a discreet and welcoming environment,” said Price. “Our top priority is helping them achieve long-term sobriety, so they can get back in the game of life.”


About NFL Alumni Association
Founded in 1967 by a small group of successful retired NFL players, the National Football League Alumni is the oldest, most well-known and well-respected retired player organization in professional sports. Membership includes thousands of retired players, coaches, front office executives, spouses, cheerleaders, and avid fans. A primary mission of NFL Alumni is “Caring for Our Own” as we inform, assist, and serve players in their post-NFL lives. Alumni are offered a diverse package of medical, business, and legal services to help keep them and their families healthy, productive, and connected to the league and their former teammates. NFLA is a non-profit organization. Visit to learn more.


About American Addiction Centers
American Addiction Centers (OTC: AACH) is a leading provider of inpatient and outpatient substance abuse treatment services. We treat clients who are struggling with drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring mental/behavioral health issues. We currently operate substance abuse treatment facilities located throughout the United States. These facilities are focused on delivering effective clinical care and treatment solutions. For more information, please find us at We also offer several online resources for the public. Visit to learn more.