(NEW YORK) — Thousands of NFL wives are turning to a private Facebook page to share advice on dealing with their husband’s health and the pressures that come with life in professional football.
The invitation-only Facebook group of roughly 2,000 women, first reported by The New York Times, was founded by Tara Nesbit, whose husband, Jamar Nesbit, played 10 seasons in the NFL.
“The purpose of the page is meant to be a supportive measure to a silent partner of the NFL family,” Tara Nesbit told ABC News.
The group is filled with wives, daughters and widows of current and former NFL players.
Janet Dorsett is a member of the group. Her husband, Hall-of-Famer Tony Dorsett, has been diagnosed with early signs of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE)– a degenerative brain disease found in many athletes who have experienced repetitive head trauma.
Janet Dorsett said the Facebook forum is a place to talk with other women about what their families are going through on a daily basis. It has been difficult for her to deal with her husband’s condition on a public stage, she added.
Janet McCoy joined the Facebook group after losing her husband, Green Bay Packers cornerback Mike McCoy, in 2016 to dementia. He was diagnosed with the disease in his 50s.
“A lot of it has to do with what we’re dealing with as wives, how to best take care of our husbands,” Janet McCoy said of the group. “The one thing I felt strongly about is validating a wife’s feeling. It doesn’t make any difference if they think they’re alone. They’re not. So many of us have gone through the same thing.”
For women like Jordan Nelson, whose husband Corey Nelson is a fourth-year linebacker for the Denver Broncos, the Facebook support group is a place to ask questions about life in the league.
“Last year my husband and I went through an agent change and I was able to private message with someone from the group who had been through the same thing–things that maybe regular friends can’t relate to,” Jordan Nelson said. “Things like family issues, getting cut, traded. Those types of things are things that we discuss.”
Although they don’t meet in person, many of the women said they’ve grown to trust each other.
The NFL told ABC News it provides a number of programs “designed to serve, educate, and assist players and their families during and after their careers.” The league also provides assistance for players’ “mental, emotional, physical and financial well-being.”
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