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Independence Blue Cross joins Philadelphia Union Foundation for inaugural Mental Fitness Forum

On May 14, Independence Blue Cross (IBX) joined with the Philadelphia Union Foundation and the HeadFirst initiative for the inaugural Mental Fitness Forum at Subaru Park. The Forum was specifically curated for soccer coaches, athletic directors, trainers, club administrators, and parents with the goal to raise awareness and help destigmatize mental health challenges in sports, ensuring a robust support system for youth athletes.

Ann O’Grady, IBX director of Behavioral Health, shared her insights on a panel of mental health professionals, including:

  • Scott Glassman, Director of HeadFirst ‘A Happier U’ education, and Director of Applied Psychology Program at PCOM
  • James Pawelski, Professor of Practice and Director of Education at UPenn
  • Amber Meyerl, Executive Director of the Quell Foundation
  • Suzie Pawelski, well-being consultant/writer and co-author of “Happy Together”

The panel discussed the clinical perspective on mental health, such as common mental health challenges faced by athletes, societal expectations of toughness and resilience impacting athletes, risk factors for mental health issues among athletes, and the relationship between physical injuries and mental health in athletics.

Other highlights of the Forum included:

  • Welcome remarks and a meet and greet with Ale Bedoya, a distinguished Union player
  • Keynote from Julie Kliegman, author of Mind Game
  • Insights from players, parents, and coaches on navigating mental health in sports

Earlier in May, IBX and the Philadelphia Union Foundation announced that IBX had extended its support of HeadFirst over multiple years to fund the innovative mental health program.

In February, IBX became the Official Health Insurance Partner of the Philadelphia Union and Subaru Park, and the first official sleeve patch partner of the Union.


Media contact:
Kathleen Conlon