Ervin Hill strives to help pro athletes build brand away from sports

As the spotlight falls on the NFL draft in Chicago, comms firm Ervin Hill wants to help players plan for success beyond game day.

2015 NFL draft
2015 NFL draft

CHICAGO: As the 2015 NFL draft got underway in Chicago, communications firm Ervin| Hill Strategy launched its Pro Impact service, which is designed to help professional athletes identify and hone their path to success away from the game.

"It’s based on the premise that athletes in particular view their life as a series of chapters, and the problem with that thinking is they tend to focus entirely on their sport," said Ervin Hill president Dan Hill.

Whether a career ends in retirement or is cut short by injury, some athletes "don’t do the things they need to do outside of sports" to adequately prepare for a world without the next game day, Hill said.

In a Thursday report entitled "The 1990 NFL Draft Class: Some Thrive, but Just as Many Struggle," The New York Times underscored the prevalence of that problem in professional sports. The article described challenges including physical ailments, financial strain, and emotional struggles among the 25 players drafted in the first round of the NFL draft in 1990.

Pro Impact will help athletes come up with a game plan to determine where their other strengths or passions might lead them in parallel with and after an athletic career, said Hill. That could include launching a foundation or going into business – not just serving as a brand spokesperson.

Former US congressman and NFL veteran Jon Runyan serves as an advisor at the firm.

Hill was in Chicago this week ahead of the NFL draft, speaking with players and agents about the new service. Athletes who stand to benefit the most from Pro Impact include rookies looking to "establish whatever that brand is going to be," players nursing a reputational blow, and those approaching retirement, Hill said.

He added that the firm plans to promote the service through word of mouth and social media.

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