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Anthony Fasano, ex-Notre Dame star, talks helping those struggling with addiction, sober tailgates

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Anthony Fasano was a standout tight end at Notre Dame and played 12 seasons in the NFL and while he had been a part of some winning teams and playoff runs, the work he’s doing off the field is more remarkable.

Fasano, 37, has been working with athletes and college students to help them battle through addiction and substance abuse and to keep their mental fitness sharp. He is the President of Athletics at the All Points North (APN) Lodge – a Colorado-based facility that works with people seeking “trauma therapy, addiction treatment or mental health work.”

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Anthony Fasano played 12 seasons in the NFL. 

Anthony Fasano played 12 seasons in the NFL. 
(Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Fasano told Fox News in a recent interview he got started in the addiction treatment and mental health field after a close family member was struggling with addiction. In the wake of the family member’s treatment and recovery, Fasano helped start an all-male program in Florida called Next Chapter Addiction which was later merged with APN.

Since then, Fasano has been working with athletes and others to help them with their struggles.

“We have a pretty all-encompassing program with a lot of different facets. We’re able to customize and personalize treatment,” he said of his work. “While we have a lot of capabilities, we do a very thorough assessment in the beginning to see what their issues are and what they need to work on. Sometimes it’s heavy substance abuse. Sometimes it’s more mental health. There’s an array of different issues, depression issues, traumatic brain injury issues. We take an individualized approach on each case. For me, I try to open up the door and avenues for people to know that these resources are at APN.

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Fasano has been helping peop battle addiction.

Fasano has been helping peop battle addiction.
(REUTERS/Mike Stone)

Fasano told Fox News he helps individualize the treatments for athletes while they’re in the program and makes it known to them they are there to help with whatever they need.

On Sunday, Notre Dame will open the 2021 football season against Florida State. Fasano is working with Sober AF to bring fun and sobriety to college football games with his first-ever sober tailgate.

“It’s somewhat of a new concept to me. When I was first approached a couple of months ago, I thought it was kind of an oxymoron from what I knew,” he told Fox News. “I think it’s great that Sober AF is doing this and gaining momentum. It’s also great that the colleges are recognizing this community within their student body and providing the best resources for them whether it be sober dorms and sober events and groups for these people to have a fulfilled life and have fun in college without the substances they used to do. I’m going in optimistic and open and hope that it really continues and takes off on other campuses.”

Fasano said there are plans in the works for more sober tailgates throughout the college football season.

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When asked if he had any advice for college students who are dealing and struggling with the party life that can be seen on college campuses, Fasano told Fox News there is a “very strong community that is there for them.”

Fasano is hosting his first sober tailgate on Sunday.

Fasano is hosting his first sober tailgate on Sunday.
(REUTERS/John Gress)

Even though he’s been off the football field for a few years, the former Fighting Irish star is still following the team intensely and has high expectations for Brian Kelly’s squad this season.

“Coach Kelly has done a great job year in and year out, putting a great team on the field and winning. And I expect more of the same of that moving forward,” Fasano said. “I think there’s a lot of new pieces on the team that will gel together. My hope is that they cross and break through that threshold and really win a meaningful ball game and ultimately the national championship.

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“They’ve gotten close a bunch of times and just want them to take that leap. I’m glad to see ‘Tight End U’ is still strong at Notre Dame. The sophomore Michael Mayer is a great player and a lot of nice components.”

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