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News | April 1, 2021

Athletico Partners with SAFE Project to Bring Awareness to the Opioid Epidemic


CONTACT:  Mandy Pasquale | Athletico Physical Therapy

                                                    630-575-6269 |


Athletico Partners with SAFE Project

to Bring Awareness to the Opioid Epidemic 

Physical therapy provider dedicated to practical solutions for safer, non-addictive ways to manage pain

OAK BROOK, IL – March 11, 2021 – Athletico Physical Therapy, a leader in physical and occupational therapy, and  SAFE Project, a national nonprofit dedicated to ending the addiction epidemic, announce an exclusive partnership to bring awareness to the nation’s opioid addiction epidemic. The National Opioid Reduction Partnership aims to educate individuals on the risks associated with opioid medications and provide practical solutions to communities, campuses, workplaces and active-duty service members, veterans, and their families on safer ways to manage pain.

”As a healthcare provider, we know the opioid crisis is affecting every community across the U.S., including those where we operate,” said Ron Rodgers, CEO of Athletico Physical Therapy. “Our mission is centered on patient care, and we are committed to providing safer options for individuals to treat pain and improve their quality of life without the use of prescription medications. Our partnership with the SAFE Project gives us an opportunity to bring more awareness to this important issue and potentially help save lives.”

Over 83,000 Americans have lost their lives to overdoses in the year ending June 2020, representing the highest number of opioid-related deaths ever recorded. SAFE Project is committed to ending the nation’s catastrophic addiction epidemic by focusing on public awareness, prevention, prescriptions and medical response, law enforcement and criminal justice, treatment and recovery, and family outreach and support. Together, the partnership with Athletico will strengthen the education on safe use and disposal of prescription medicine and non-addictive ways to improve pain management.

Addiction to opioids can occur after just a few days of taking pain medication, and science has proven that the likelihood of long-term dependence on opioids rises steeply after just five days of a prescribed usage.  Athletico and SAFE Project are joining to build greater awareness, and as a first step of the partnership, Athletico has joined SAFE Project’s “No Shame” movement.  SAFE Project and Athletico encourage everyone to commit to the #NoShame Pledge to combat stigma in our nation. Both organizations will encourage others to take the pledge, reinforcing there is No Shame in seeking assistance for or speaking about mental health and addiction challenges. The No Shame pledge will also help encourage others to seek help and speak out about addiction.

“People and families navigating substance use and mental health challenges are facing unfathomable consequences. While the COVID vaccine may slow the spread of one public health crisis, the overdose rate is expected to continue its deadly climb this year,” said Brandee Izquierdo, Executive Director of SAFE Project. “We are so proud to be partnering with Athletico, a company that shares our unwavering commitment to the health, safety, and well-being of the many communities we serve.”

Athletico has demonstrated through its own opioid initiatives and industry-leading pain management training programs that physical therapy is a safe, affordable and effective way to manage pain by identifying and treating the underlying root causes of injuries or pain. Partnering with SAFE Project is another way Athletico is leading the physical therapy industry and showing its commitment to the fight against the opioid epidemic.

The opioid epidemic remains one of the most challenging issues affecting the nation’s health care industry and overall wellness as a whole. The pandemic has exasperated many of the underlying issues associated with addiction and mental health, including stress, isolation, economic uncertainty and lack of access to support systems. That’s why it’s more important than ever for healthcare providers to communicate with patients about preventative measures and alternative pain management options to stop the addiction cycle before it starts. Athletico clinicians are equipped with the expertise, the resources, and the tools to help patients with their personal recovery journeys.


About SAFE Project

SAFE Project is a national 501(c)3 nonprofit committed to overcoming the epidemic of addiction in the United States. Using a collaborative, multi-pronged and non-partisan approach, our key initiatives focus on SAFE Campuses, SAFE Communities, SAFE Workplaces, and SAFE Veterans. Each of our initiatives are fueled by working in six distinct yet highly interactive lines of operation: public awareness, full-spectrum prevention, prescriptions & medical response, law enforcement & criminal justice, treatment & recovery, and family outreach & support. Thanks to the generosity of our donors and the support from our volunteers, SAFE turns hope into action through transformative programs, training, and technical assistance.  For more information, visit

About Athletico Physical Therapy

Athletico Physical Therapy provides the highest quality orthopedic rehabilitation services to communities, employers and athletes in over 525 locations throughout twelve states with more than 5,000 employees. Athletico is committed to our patients and referring physicians through our patient-centric focus, positive work environment, attention to quality and high standard of care. Athletico measures patient outcomes and satisfaction and is dedicated to continuous improvement. Athletico was named #1 Workplace in Chicago, “Best Physical Therapy Practice in the Nation” by ADVANCE magazine, Top Workplace in the Nation and has been recognized as a leader in employee volunteering and charitable giving. Our services include physical and occupational/hand therapy, workers’ compensation, women’s health therapy, concussion management and athletic training. For more information, or to schedule a free assessment in-clinic or now online with our virtual free assessments, visit and follow us on Twitter at @athletico.