Carl Hairston

Trust Spotlights

Carl Hairston


After a 15-year playing career and another 18 years on the coaching/scouting side, Carl “Big Daddy” Hairston has been around the game of football longer than most. And he’s no stranger to the aches and pains former players are virtually guaranteed after a lengthy career in the league.

While Hairston still works out consistently and considers himself in good shape, the 64-year-old former defensive lineman was eager to take advantage of the Brain and Body program, a medical assessment The Trust offers former NFL players.

The Trust's comprehensive medical assessment sends players to one of The Trust’s medical partners (Cleveland Clinic, Hoag Neurosciences Institute, Tulane Institute of Sports Medicine, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) for a multi-day screening specifically designed for the older generation of players. Hairston's assessment took place at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, CA.

"As the West Coast satellite location for our efforts together with the Cleveland Clinic, we are able to optimize the health of former NFL players through a proactive approach using the most advanced diagnostic capabilities and clinical expertise available," said Justin Davis, vice president of client services at Hoag. "The environment we strive to provide to former players here at Hoag reaffirms the goal of ensuring players have a clear and in-depth understanding of their personal health so they can continue on in their personal lives enjoying a healthy and happy lifestyle.”


Hairston and his wife traveled from Phoenix, AZ for the assessment, with expenses paid by The Trust. Hairston indicated he wasn’t entirely sure what he was in for prior to the exam, but that it was ‘probably the best physical’ he had ever had.

It was just like having a physical as a player, but more extensive.

“Everything was so precise, it reminded me of having to be on time for football meetings,” Hairston said. “The doctors were so precise and thorough. I saw a physician, neurologist, sleep apnea specialist, physical therapist, nutritionist and orthopedic surgeon. It was just like having a physical as a player, but more extensive.”


The assessment helped ease a lot of the concerns Hairston had going in, and provided him a blueprint for how to continue to enhance his wellness on his own.

“It was the most impressive thing I have been through,” Hairston said. “It taught me about how to take care of my body, and I would recommend every player go through it. You find out everything about your body you didn’t know, and the ways you can improve your weaknesses.”

It taught me about how to take care of my body, and I would recommend every player go through it.

“I talked to so many nice people, they discussed with me what I should do. When the whole thing was over, the doctor called me two weeks later and discussed everything each doctor had told him. He also explained what I should do to help myself improve and get healthier.”


An important aspect of the Health and Wellness Resources pillar, which includes the Brain and Body program, is to encourage regular check ups and follow ups with the former player’s local primary care physician.

“The {assessment} was specifically designed in response to the needs of our 15+ former player population,” said Christie Fabish, Carl Hairston's Trust Program Specialist. “We look forward to continuing to grow the program and reach all eligible former players to take advantage of this new resource.”

Hairston’s experience is something he believes all former players should take advantage of to stay on top of their health.

If you know what’s wrong, you can correct it and live longer.

“Even if you’re scared, still go, because it’s better to know than not know,” Hairston said. “I came out of there more comfortable – If you know what’s wrong, you can correct it and live longer.”

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