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Two Former Miami Dolphins Part of NSU Panel on Athletes & Mental Health

Dwight Hollier (NSU 2000) and Current NSU Psychology Student Julius Thomas Bring a Unique Perspective

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** Attention Photo & Assignment Editors **
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Two Former Miami Dolphins Players on NSU Panel
“The Mental Health and Wellness of Athletes”

 Dwight Hollier (NSU 2000) and Current NSU Psychology Student Julius Thomas Bring a Unique Perspective to This Discussion

 

WHO:     Former NFL players Dwight Hollier, M.S, LPC, NCC (Miami Dolphins and Indianapolis Colts) and Julius Thomas (Denver Broncos, Jacksonville Jaguars, Miami Dolphins), along with Nova Southeastern University (NSU) faculty members Robert Seifer, Ph.D., Jamie Tartar, Ph.D., ., Mindy Dunagan, Ph.D., LPC, NCC, Charles Golden, Ph.D., ABPP

 

WHAT:     Panel Discussion – “Mind, Body, & Sport: The Counselor and Psychologist Perspective”

The event is open to the NSU Community (students, faculty and staff) and the media

 

WHERE:   NSU’s Carl DeSantis Bldg., Room 3000, 3301 College Ave.

 

WHEN:     3:30 p.m., Wed., Nov. 7

 

WHY:        Over the past few years, the issue of the mental health and wellness of athletes has become a national topic of discussion. All too familiar are the stories of athletes (professional and amateur) who have struggled with mental health, performance, stress, or physical issues, some of which have had tragic endings.

For two former NFL players, helping their friends, colleagues and fellow athletes led them on similar paths after their playing days ended. That desire brought them to NSU’s College of Psychology to earn their advanced degrees. NSU supports university and community athletes through interdisciplinary education and services.

Dwight Hollier, who hung up his cleats 18 years ago, earned his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling from NSU in 2000. As if being a member of the NFL playing at the highest levels wasn’t enough, Hollier started earning his degree while still playing for the Miami Dolphins.

He is a National Board Certified Counselor and Licensed Professional Counselor with extensive experience working with adolescents, families and adults around a variety of clinical and non-clinical issues.

Hollier, who was recently named an NSU Distinguished Alumnus, is currently the Senior Associate Athletic Director for the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Prior he was Vice President, Wellness and Clinical Services for the National Football League Player Engagement Department overseeing the Total Wellness Platform, including wellness initiatives, athlete development and the educational programming. He also served as the Director of Transition and Clinical Services.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 1992 NFL Draft (97th overall pick) out of the University of North Carolina, Hollier spent nine years as an NFL star, first with the Miami Dolphins (1992-1999) and then with the Indianapolis Colts (2000.) Through his experiences as a professional football player, he knew first-hand the various challenges facing athletes, including after they retire.

He has said that “playing professional football isn’t a ‘career,’ it’s an experience” – it’s a lesson it took him years to learn, and he now works to help other players transition from being a star athlete used to being in front of thousands of cheering fans to being out of the spotlight.

 

Julius Thomas last played in the NFL in 2017 for the Miami Dolphins. He began his career in 2011 after being selected in the fourth round (129th pick) of the NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. A two-time NFL Pro-Bowl player, Thomas also played for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2015-16.

When he left the field of competition, it would have been easy for him to sit back and relax. After all, playing that many years in the NFL can take a toll on someone. But that wasn’t in the cards for him – and he made his way to NSU where he is currently pursuing his dream of serving others. He decided to look towards a doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

“When I made the decision not to continue playing football, I wanted to grow intellectually,” Thomas said in a recent NFL video spotlight. “I spent so much time preparing my body, now I’m doing those things preparing my mind.”

He said he was always interested in psychology because it held the answers to things he was experiencing internally. He said that football players, and professional athletes as a whole, are really struggling with many stressors. It comes from all angles and he didn’t always know how to handle it the right way.

So now he is taking classes on his way to earning a doctoral degree, which will allow him to pay it forward and help others.

“I decided to get my doctorate in clinical psychology so I could help athletes better understand what they are going through and, ultimately, have the quality of life that I want to see,” he said. “When you’re old and in that rocking chair and all you can think about is how you helped other people have an improved quality of life, that’s how you have sustained happiness.”

 

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About Nova Southeastern University (NSU): Located in beautiful Fort Lauderdale, Florida, NSU is ranked among U.S. News & World Report’s Top 200 National Research Universities and is a dynamic, private research university providing high-quality educational and research programs at the undergraduate, graduate, and first-professional degree levels. Established in 1964, NSU now includes 16 colleges, the 215,000-square-foot Center for Collaborative Research, a private JK-12 grade school, the Mailman Segal Center for Human Development with specialists in Autism, the world-class NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, and the Alvin Sherman Library, Research and Information Technology Center, which is Florida’s largest public library. NSU has campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Fort Myers, Jacksonville, Miami, Miramar, Orlando, Palm Beach, and Tampa, Florida, as well as San Juan, Puerto Rico, while maintaining a presence online globally. Classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, NSU is one of only 50 universities nationwide to also be awarded Carnegie’s Community Engagement Classification, and is also the largest private institution in the United States that meets the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria as a Hispanic-serving Institution. For more information, please visit www.nova.edu.

About NSU’s College of Psychology: NSU’s College of Psychology is home to a comprehensive collection of programs covering the science and practice of psychology, counseling and neuroscience, reaching from the laboratory to the clinic and into the community. Our renowned faculty draw on a wealth of experience as leaders in their fields to mentor students, both in and out of the classroom, at the undergraduate, master’s, specialist and doctoral levels. Students at all stages of their educational careers can supplement their in-class, evidenced-based curricula with hands-on, real-world experience in one of the psychology and neuroscience research labs or the Psychological Services Center’s clinics, which provide a myriad of services to the diverse South Florida community. The college’s commitment to providing a quality educational experience has been recognized by accrediting bodies, including the American Psychological Association’s Commission on Accreditation. Small and interactive classes, outstanding faculty, empirically based curricula, and supportive learning environment all contribute to providing our students with the “NSU Edge.” For more information, please visit psychology.nova.edu

 

November 2, 2018

 

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