When the Cheering Stops

When the Cheering Stops

Life after the NFL

Gay Culverhouse


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A heartfelt account of the difficulties football players face after they leave the NFL.

The NFL is the nation’s most popular sport, but the athletes who make the league rich suffer greatly once they step off the field. In When the Cheering Stops: Life after the NFL, players open up about the adversities they face after retirement. Long after the lights have dimmed on their playing days, NFL players face emotional distress, physical injuries, and cognitive decline, often suffering on their own. Personal interviews with former players reveal that many struggle with finances, finding a second career, addiction, depression, and violence. While success stories are also shared, the unfortunate truth is that there are far more players left hurt and broken after retirement.

Written by former Tampa Bay Buccaneers president and founder of the Retired Player Assistance program Gay Culverhouse, this book provides a unique inside perspective on the NFL and the long-term physical and emotional toll playing in the league takes on the players who make it great.


Gay Culverhouse:

Gay Culverhouse was an executive for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for ten years, including president from 1991 to 1994. For many of those years, she was the highest ranking woman in the National Football League. Culverhouse testified before the House Judiciary Committee on the legal issues relating to football head injuries, and soon after founded the Gay Culverhouse Players Outreach Program, Inc. (now Retired Player Assistance, Inc.). This program assists retired NFL players in accessing the benefits to which they may be entitled by the NFL. She is the author of Throwaway Players: The Concussion Crisis From Pee Wee Football to the NFL.