Mental health is often a topic of discussion in every day life. Former Vols football player Derrick Furlow Jr. is seemingly passionate about breaking the stigma associated with dealing with struggles such as anxiety and depression by opening up an opportunity for Tennessee student athletes to ink NIL deals with mental health organizations, he told Knox News.
To better relate to the new generation of athletes, Furlow will employ former Vols greats who dealt with their own mental health struggles while attending the university. He is doing this as part of his own brand for authoring and public speaking, called Sports Life Business, which has expanded with SLB The Agency.
“SLB The Agency is for the athlete, by the athlete,” Furlow said. “One of the biggest things that I wanted to do was put together a platform where athletes can have some representation of guys that have done been there, done it and lived it.
“So now, these new student athletes that’s getting these NIL deals, they’re not just dealing with somebody that went to law school that didn’t play their particular sport that they have no relation with or no common ground with.”
Athletes have a lot of influence in our society, With a tendency of people to bottle up their emotions, it’s now more important than ever for them to advocate for people to get the assistance they need.
“Everyday people look up to athletes,” Furlow said. “(These NIL deals are) going to make it OK for the everyday person to realize: ‘Hey, I’m dealing with something, I’m experiencing something. Maybe I should go get some help.'”
A lot of people tend to believe that having a lot of money erases the problems associated with poor mental health, which former Lady Vols star Alexis Hornbuckle acknowledges.
“No, money is not going to take away all of your mental health problems at all,” said Hornbuckle, who is working as an ambassador for SLB The Agency. “Maybe the anxiety doesn’t come on as strong or as fast, but that’s a strong maybe.”