Validus Senior Living names adviser for NFL communities

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Sylvia Mackey, widow of National Football League Hall of Famer John Mackey, has been named an adviser and spokeswoman for a select group of Inspired Living brand senior living communities being developed to meet the unique needs of retired NFL players and the community at large.

Mackey will support an affiliation between Pro Football Legends, the marketing arm of the NFL Alumni Association; Tampa developer Mark Bouldin; the Inspired Living communities; and management company Validus Senior Living. She will chair an advisory board consisting of NFLAA members, spouses and family members to provide insight about their special needs as the communities are being developed.

Plans are under way for 33 assisted living and memory care communities to be built in major cities with a high concentration of retired NFL players. The first affiliated community is under construction outside Windermere, FL. Along with memory care and assisted living services, the communities will offer swimming pools, dog parks, boardwalks, tiki huts, technology and putting greens, as well as fine dining.

Some costs associated with assisted living may be covered under the NFL's 88 Plan, which provides benefits to certain players with Alzheimer's, dementia, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Parkinson's disease. The plan was named in honor of John Mackey, Sylvia Mackey's late husband, who wore jersey No. 88. The five-time Pro Bowl tight end for the Baltimore Colts and the San Diego Chargers was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1992. Receiving a diagnosis of dementia after his retirement, he required assisted living care until he died in 2011.

Sylvia Mackey has since become an advocate for quality care for NFL alumni and a supporter of the Inspired Living brand. "If John were alive, I know he would support this wonderful project," she said. "Yes, I have lost the love of my life, but I have not lost the life in my love for him and his legacy, and this is it."

In her role, Mackey will help educate former players about the 88 Plan and its benefits and serve as a media and events spokeswoman. She also will attend grand openings, support various projects and initiatives and assist in the approval of naming new facilities that include the Mackey name.

Discovery rooms in all NFLAA-affiliated communities will be called the John and Sylvia Mackey Discovery Lounge, according to Rebecca Lingold, senior vice president for Validus Senior Living.

"Sylvia brings knowledge and passion from her own personal experience to the role of spokeswoman for Validus Senior Living," said Joe Pisarcik, president and CEO of the NFLAA. "We feel strongly that she will be a great asset as she relates her story to other NFLAA families who are going through the same situation she went through."

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