The CarePlus Foundation will honor former NFL star Leonard A. Marshall at the 18th Annual Courage Awards Gala on Wednesday Junes 8th at the Venetian in Garfield, NJ.
Marshall spent twelve seasons on NFL fields and played as a defensive end of the Giants for ten of those seasons. He was a starter when the Giants won Super Bowl XXI and XXV. Unfortunately, traumatic brain injury came with his success in the league. His struggle with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) inspired him to become an advocate for the disease.
The effects of brain injury and concussions have recently come into the spotlight. Repetitive head trauma can lead to the development of CTE, which is a progressive degenerative disease of the brain. Many professional athletes are vulnerable because of the nature of the game, specifically in contact sports. Even the NFL has started to do their part to educate the public and spread awareness around the issue.
“A lot of us who have experienced this disease first hand are doing our best to pay it forward,” explained Marshall. “There are a lot of individuals and families out there that are swimming for knowledge about traumatic brain injury and cognitive disabilities as they relate to professional sports.”
Marshall is one of the individuals that have been diagnosed with CTE, but it can be argued that there are many more who have developed the disease without diagnosis. Some cognitive symptoms that may manifest with the onset of CTE include dementia and depression.
“What we’re seeing now is just the beginning. The newness of CTE is going to wear out soon,” Marshall continued. “We are going to see a lot of wear and tear left in the wakes of those who suffer. The attributes associated with cognitive disabilities are intense. There are some really tragic endings to these stories. That’s why it’s so important to be aware and catch it early.”
The CarePlus Foundation is proud to recognize Marshall for his outstanding efforts of advocacy. The organization noted the importance of determining where physical and mental health needs overlap, which is the CarePlus expertise. The integrated approach to primary and behavioral healthcare can give providers the tools needed to make those distinctions and prescribe the most effective treatment plans.
Marshall has had great success off the field as well. He continues to give back and be a part of the local community as a professor of Finance and Sports Management at Seton Hall University, a coach for Paramus Catholic High School, and more.
In addition to educating on how to avoid and treat head injuries in sports, he has also earned degrees and certifications in business administration, management and finance. CarePlus has expressed their gratitude to Marshall’s willingness to connect the organization with opportunities for corporate sponsorship.
“The stability and sustainability of our states mental health system is threatened at this time,” remarked Joe Masciandaro, CEO and President and CarePlus. “Philanthropic and forward thinking individuals such as Mr. Marshall are the hope that the system needs.”
The Courage Awards Gala includes a cocktail hour, dinner, live and silent auctions, a 50/50 raffle and more. Attendees are expected from across the state, including local community partners, state representatives and supporters from the Northern New Jersey business community. Individual tickets are available at $175 each, with full tables of 10 offered for $1,500.
The CarePlus Foundation is currently welcoming dinner guests, sponsors, and auction donations. For more information, call 201-986-5070.