NFL Football

HOFer Dawkins tackling mental wellness

(AP Photo/Ron Schwane, File)

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Brian Dawkins is tackling mental health issues the same aggressive way he took on anyone who dared cross the middle during his Hall of Fame career as a safety for the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos.

Since revealing he suffered from depression and had suicidal thoughts early in his playing career, Dawkins has been on a mission to spread awareness. He recently spoke at the Stay in the Game Forum to identify ways sports can be leveraged to have a positive impact on mental wellness. The event was organized by groups including Beyond Sport and the major professional sports leagues, including MLB, NFL, NBA and the NHL.

"We're trying to bring awareness to something that affects 44 million people," Dawkins told The Associated Press. "One in five adults have a mental health condition or are going through some things. I like to talk about my cerebral wellness instead of mental health. I believe we need to begin to change the narrative when we begin to speak about our cerebral wellness. I think there's so much negativity surrounding mental health that it's gonna be hard to take that stigma completely off, so I believe that individuals in every walk of life, you need to take control of it, take ownership of it, you change the way that you feel comfortable for yourself to talk about yourself."

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