Amada Senior Care—led by a former Chicago Bears football player—has converted on a deal to become sponsor and exclusive in-home care provider for NFL Alumni, an association of about 5,000 former National Football League players, coaches, staffers, cheerleaders and family members.
For San Clemente, California-based Amada, the recently announced deal is an opportunity to further legitimize its brand while in the midst of an ambitious expansion push that calls for roughly doubling in size within the next few years. For CEO Tafa Jefferson, who played professionally in Chicago during a short stint in the mid-1990s before launching Amada more than a decade ago, it’s also an opportunity to help provide home care services to NFL Alumni’s vast network of aging athletes, people who often have unique needs from their years playing a physically grueling sport.
“I’ve always had an affinity for serving seniors, but, specifically, when we’re able to take care of some of these great players, it’s just an honor and a privilege,” Jefferson told Home Health Care News. “And the NFL is one of the strongest brands in the country, so whenever you can get that stamp of approval, it’s meaningful to any company.”
Amada is a non-medical in-home care franchisor with locations in 40 states. In addition to home care services, Amada offers senior housing consulting services and helps its clients with long-term care insurance claims and certain forms of government aid. It opened its 100th franchise location earlier this month.
NFL Alumni was founded in 1967 and is based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The national organization’s mission is to help its members lead healthy and productive lives in retirement.
“We feel the service that is provided by Amada will certainly be beneficial to the players we have,” NFL Alumni CEO Elvis Gooden told HHCN. “There’s an older population out there, a big need for in-home care, and we think Amada is the perfect entity to provide that service. As needs arise, our members will know exactly where to turn.”
Under terms of the deal, Amada becomes the primary and exclusive source for in-home care for NFL Alumni members, a move that gives the franchisor prime access to NFL Alumni’s nearly three dozen chapters across the country. As a result of the arrangement, Amada becomes the “first and only stop” for in-home care representing NFL Alumni, Gooden said.
Besides connecting Amada to current members, the deal positions Amada to better target the large group of retirees with NFL ties who may join NFL Alumni in the future—about 22,000 people in total, according to Gooden.
Discussions between Amada and NFL Alumni lasted for about “four to five months,” Gooden said. Financial terms, or what Amada agreed to pay to become the exclusive in-home care provider of NFL Alumni, were not disclosed.
“It’s not about dollars,” Gooden said. “This is something that we really wanted to have, and we’re happy it’s now done.”
NFL Alumni has a history of partnering with businesses that provide assisted living and memory care services as well. The organization, for example, gave its seal of approval in 2015 to Validus Senior Living, a subsidiary of Validus Group. That partnership deal ended early, however, and is no longer active, according to NFL Alumni.
Athletes caring for athletes
Amada’s deal with NFL Alumni is the franchisor’s first major sponsorship undertaking, though its leadership says others are in the works. After strengthening and expanding its new partnership, Amada plans to pursue similar arrangements elsewhere in the professional sports world, Jefferson said. The franchisor has already provided past or current home care services to several former NBA athletes, NHL stars and MLB players, he said.
In general, former athletes often have more need for physical therapy, especially individuals who have suffered hip, knee or back injuries during their playing careers. But even athletes who have never experienced traumatic injuries find themselves in need of home care as they age simply because of their physical stature and size, Jefferson, who’s about 6 feet 6 inches tall and weighs about 310 pounds, said.
“We’ve taken care of a lot of athletes, not only NFL greats,” he said. “The vast majority of these men, as they age, they have very large frames and it can be a little difficult to ambulate.”
NFL Alumni does not currently have statistics on how many of its members arrange for home care services, Gooden said, adding the organization plans to better track utilization rates as its partnership with Amada matures.
“Playing the game, players come out with injuries, come out with issues that will somehow hinder their routine lives,” he said. “Moving forward, I think there will be even more need for [home care] services.”
Jefferson is not the first professional athlete to enter the home care business after playing days come to an end. Former NBA player Mustafa Shakur last year opened up his own home care franchise location in the Philadelphia area with Executive Care.
“We just want to keep our head down, keep chipping away and make sure we’re selecting the right partners to work with,” Jefferson said. “This is just the beginning.”
Written by Robert Holly