Our Worlds Collide
The Oliver Tree Foundation (TOTF) began in honor of Paul Oliver who played as a cornerback for the University of Georgia and in the NFL as a safety for the San Diego Chargers. Paul passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound on September 24 th ,2013. It was later determined after Paul’s autopsy that he had been suffering from Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and is reportedly one of the first recognized cases of the disease and its relationship to Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI).
For the last five years, The Oliver Tree Foundation has successfully been hosting a youth passing league in Atlanta as a tribute to Paul’s life. These programs focus on promoting safe tackling practices combined with advanced level skills being taught by former NFL and College level football Athletes.
The Foundation has recently shifted the focus of our mission to include Military Veterans and First Responders to intensify our focus on the importance of mental health. Paul was not only suffering from the mental health complications associated with CTE; he also was struggling with finding work for someone after his career in the NFL finished.
In August of 2017 a former high school teammate and childhood friend of Paul’s contacted the foundation sharing a similar story to Paul’s story following his enlistment on active duty with the Navy. He was also finding it difficult to find a career suited to his job skills, while also trying to determine his purpose after 10 years as a Navy Diver. Paul’s former teammate wanted to use his platform with the Military and Veteran communities to shed even more light on mental health.
His plan centered around a well-coordinated, collaborative effort between three very large and influential demographics. (Veterans, First Responders, and Former Athletes). The Foundation decided to host a therapeutic offshore fishing and diving program for these three groups in South Florida.
For the entire year 2019, The Oliver Tree Foundation will be hosting monthly networking events in support of the “Therapeutic Offshore Fishing and Diving Program” they will be hosting beginning January 2020.