One of the premier facilities in America treating veterans and NFL players for traumatic brain injury and PTSD has chosen Jacksonville as its location for expansion into the Southeast.
The renowned Eisenhower Center, based in Ann Arbor, Michigan, settled on North Florida in part because of the region's international recognition as a medical tourism destination and its large veteran population.
And Eisenhower has chosen a beloved former NFL player to serve as the public face of this expansion- former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell.
Brunell is now a commentator for ESPN and football coach for the Episcopal School of Jacksonville.
He'll represent the Ambit Foundation as liaison to the Eisenhower Center and be a spokesperson for the initiative in Florida.
"I think since the movie "Concussion" came out, it's brought a lot of awareness to the subject," Brunell said on "First Coast Connect" Thursday. "It's a real issue. There are a lot of former players, some that live right in this area, that are having some issues right now with brain injury. I'm thrilled to be a part of this."
Eisenhower Center CEO John Cornack said, "We'd been looking to come down to Florida for quite a while. There's a large population of veterans down here, and if you're going to help somebody, you've got to come to where they are."
Cornack says the Eisenhower Center plans to open in Jacksonville by this summer, either by building a new facility or taking over an existing building.
Eisenhower has partnered with the Washington, D.C.-based Ambit Foundation in the expansion effort. Ambit coordinates local, state and federal programs for veterans.