News & Politics

The Washington Football Team Has Hired a Psychologist 

Roberts' hiring is part of an effort to enhance the mental wellbeing of NFL players.

Photograph by KA Sports Photos/Flickr.

The Washington Football Team announced today that it has hired Dr. Barbara Roberts as the team’s first full-time Director of Wellness and Clinical Services. Roberts is one of seven people to currently hold this position, and she is only fourth full-time clinician with a Ph.D in psychology currently working for the NFL.

During her tenure, Roberts plans to create a system that focuses on specific coping mechanisms and encourages players to engage in daily mental health activities.”I look forward to this opportunity to enhance the NFL Total Wellness mission,” Roberts said in a press statement.”I will focus on the development of a foundation for mental wellness and its impact on overall health and performance.”

Roberts’ addition to the team staff is part of an effort to improve NFL athletes’ mental health through the NFL Total Wellness mission. The Total Wellness mission was launched in 2012 to enhance the overall wellbeing of NFL players and staff through providing mental, physical, and financial health resources. “Mental health is one of the most important factors in making sure our players are prepared for the challenges of life int he NFL,” Head Coach Ron Rivera said. “Dr. Roberts…will be a tremendous resource for our players.”

Roberts has previously worked as a clinical psychologist for professional athletes and has served as a senior health policy analysis in the White House.

The news comes amid a burst of attention to athletes’ mental health. After citing mental health as her reason for refusing to take part in media during the French Open, tennis star Naomi Osaka abruptly withdrew from the Grand Slam tournament this week.

Meanwhile, in DC at least, there’s also some speculation about how the fans are doing as live sports return following a year of covid. A streaker was apprehended by security at a Washington Nationals game last week and a fan was tackled after running onto the court at a Wizards playoff game Monday night.



Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.