NEW YORK, Nov. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Conde Nast Entertainment and GQ, in partnership with Endeavor Films and Bywater Films, will today premiere Casualties of the Gridiron, a new documentary series that chronicles life after concussion-filled football careers for a group of retired professional players. The hard-hitting series focuses on the players' journey to overcome crippling chronic pain, drug addiction, behavioral issues and brain trauma with the support of one another and the help of a team of dedicated medical professionals. Casualties of the Gridiron will debut across all platforms of the CNE digital network including the official GQ video site and YouTube channel as well as through syndicated partnerships. New episodes of the eight-episode series will premiere on Mondays and Thursdays through December 18, 2013.
In 2009, GQ first shed light on the aftereffects of concussions and traumatic brain injuries in the feature "Game Brain" by Jeanne Marie Laskas. The eye-opening article chronicles a young pathologist's discovery of the link between concussion-related injuries and severe mental decline and the dramatic battle that would ensue between the National Football League and the scientific community. Five years, many high-profile professional players' deaths, and one controversial lawsuit later, Conde Nast Entertainment and the GQ digital channel are taking another look at the issue through their new documentary series, Casualties of the Gridiron.
Casualties of the Gridiron follows former New York Jets quarterback Ray Lucas, San Francisco 49ers linebacker Terry Tautolo, Minnesota Vikings guard Brent Boyd , Army fullback Gene Merlino, Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Randy Grimes, and Washington Redskins wide receiver Charlie Brown – players who once reached the pinnacle of athletic accomplishment – as they struggle with personal, physical, and emotional challenges. Their road to recovery is navigated by a group of doctors called P.A.S.T. (Pain Alternatives Solutions and Treatments) who work closely with the former players left physically broken and cognitively impaired from injury-laden football careers.
"Quality original content engages audiences and drives conversation whether you watch it in the theater, on your television, or on your computer or mobile device," said Dawn Ostroff, President, Conde Nast Entertainment. "Conde Nast Entertainment will deliver Casualties of the Gridiron across our digital platforms to ensure that this in-depth look at one of the most critical issues affecting too many professional football players today is available to the widest audience possible."
"Our goal has always been to spotlight the challenges of retired players who played in an era of five-figure salaries and public indifference about the health risks of professional football," said Isaac Solotaroff, director and executive producer of Casualties of the Gridiron. "We are proud to be partnering with CNE and GQ to share our honest and raw series in order to make a meaningful contribution to the ongoing dialog about the lack of care available to help these players pick up the pieces after they've left the field."
At the heart of Gridiron is case manager Jennifer Smith, who has dedicated her career to helping retired NFL players and other former athletes. In addition to being an integral part of P.A.S.T., Smith co-founded the Gridiron Greats retired players' organization with NFL legends Mike Ditka and Jerry Kramer. Since 2009, Jennifer has managed hundreds of players' cases as the P.A.S.T. doctors developed and honed an innovative medical approach for treating the overwhelming number of neurological, psychological, and physical ailments that have plagued players like Lucas, Tautolo, Boyd, Merlino, Grimes, and Brown. The P.A.S.T. team has been credited with improving – and in some cases saving – the lives of more than one hundred former NFL players. Gridiron, however, shows that there is still much work to be done to ease retired players' suffering and support their long struggle for equitable health care and disability benefits.
"Sharing my work with retired player provides a brutally honest look into the day-to-day struggles of men who sacrificed their bodies to stage the most profitable spectacle in all of sports," said Jennifer Smith, producer and P.A.S.T director of player programs. "Through the Gridiron series, I am able to give viewers unprecedented, behind-the-scenes access to P.A.S.T. and our players' stories of hope and redemption."
Casualties of the Gridiron premieres on November 18, 2013. For the latest episodes and Gridiron updates, subscribe to the GQ YouTube channel, and follow Casualties of the Gridiron across social media with #GQGridiron.
Casualties of the Gridiron is directed by Endeavor Films' Isaac Solotaroff (WHAM! BAM! ISLAM!, Ballplayer: Pelotero) with co-director Jesse Handsher of Bywater Films. Jennifer Smith and Solotaroff serve as both executive producers and producers for the series produced by Endeavor Films and Bywater Films for Conde Nast Entertainment and GQ.
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About Conde Nast Entertainment:
Conde Nast Entertainment (CNE) is a division of Conde Nast that focuses on the development, production, and distribution of original television, feature film, and digital video offerings based on the company's iconic media brands, which for more than one hundred years, have created the world's greatest content for the world's most influential audiences. Follow us on Twitter @CNE.
Conde Nast is home to some of the world's most celebrated media brands. In the United States, Conde Nast publishes 18 consumer magazines, four business-to-business publications, 27 websites and more than 50 apps for mobile and tablet devices, all of which define excellence in their categories. The company also owns Fairchild Fashion Media (FFM), whose portfolio of brands serves as the leading source of news and analysis for the global fashion community. Conde Nast has won more National Magazine Awards over the past 10 years than all of its competitors combined. For more information, visit condenast.com or follow us on Twitter @CondeNastCorp.
GQ is the leading men's general-interest magazine, with a monthly readership of 7 million readers. It is available in print, online at GQ.com, and as an app at iTunes.com. The magazine is published by Conde Nast, a division of Advance Publications. Conde Nast operates in twenty-five countries and is the world leader in exceptional content creation.
About Endeavor Films and Bywater Films:
Endeavor Films credits include Ballplayer: Pelotero (2012), which was released in theatrically and acquired by HBO Latino, WHAM! BAM! ISLAM! (2011) which opened the 2011–2012 season of PBS's documentary series "Independent Lens," and Visioning Tibet (2006) for American Public Television.
Bywater Films is a San Francisco–based company specializing in documentary and commercial production.
SOURCE Conde Nast Entertainment