Former NFL linebacker J.T. Thomas, who spent time in the NFL with the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars and New York Giants, has become an advocate for ADHD and mental health as a whole in his post-playing career.
I got the chance to sit down to talk to him today to dive into the topic, as well as give his thoughts on this weekend's game between his two former teams.
A focus on mental health and sports psychology has begun to make progress in the NFL, and Thomas has been a big part of that. I asked him how his health has affected his career and the sorts of changes he'd like to see.
"Back when I played, we didn't quite have a psychologist in the building," Thomas said. "After a few missed meetings as a rookie, and as things started to ramp up with your responsibilities in life and the NFL, I knew I was maybe a step behind. I was that kid that was always procrastinating with work, but could actually hyper-focus to get a project done at the last minute.
"I was able to manage it as a Youth, but when the stakes got a little bit higher as an adult with ADHD, I definitely needed some therapeutic use exemption to start to be able to take care of myself mentally. ADHD was probably my biggest detractor from my performance at times in the NFL, but once I was able to get the support I needed I started making progress."
For the full conversation about his takes on mental health inside the NFL, check out the full interview above.
I also had to get his take on this week's game between the Giants and the Jaguars, two of his former teams.
"I don't want to get all those folks in New York and Jacksonville upset at me, but the Giants are about due, although I feel like Jacksonville could be like the Seattle Seahawks and win their first and then a few in a row," he said. "All it takes is one, right? If we're saying the game, maybe the Jags defend home. If we're saying Super Bowl, maybe the stars finally align for the Giants."
So there you have it, take the Jags to win this weekend, and if you want a dark horse to win it all, sprinkle a little bit on the Giants.
J.T. Thomas is partnered with Done, which is a mental health company providing online and judgment-free ADHD treatment.