PARAMUS, N.J. — Super Bowl Champion and former New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Allen Marshall, Jr. has been tapped an honorary member of the CarePlus Foundation Board of Trustees. 

For the past 22 years, The CarePlus Foundation has worked to support programs and services that help provide care to individuals with mental illness, in addition to education and outreach to reduce stigma. The nonprofit supports innovative, life-changing programs and services of Care Plus NJ, Inc. 

Based in Paramus, Care Plus has served as a pioneer in integrated primary and behavioral health services for adults and children in northern New Jersey for the past four decades. Ranked for excellence in customer satisfaction by the Mental Health Corporations of America, Care Plus NJ specializes in acute care, providing immediate and high-quality health services and support programs for individuals in crisis. 

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“The people at CarePlus are champions for the community,” said Marshall. "The programs and services offered are an essential lifeline, which is a worthy mission in itself. The Foundation takes it to the next level by providing financial assistance for housing, medication, education, and more. It removes barriers and opens doors for people to get support and increase their quality of life.”

In 2013, Marshall was diagnosed with chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease commonly found in those with a history of repetitive brain trauma who partcipated in contact sports such as ice hockey, boxing, rugby and wrestling. Sufferers don't experience the onset of symptoms until years after their injuries. These can range from behavioral, mood and thinking problems. The disease worsens over time and can cause dementia -- a chronic disorder of the mental processes caused by either brain disease or injury. It is marked by memory disorders, personality changes and impaired reasoning.

Throughout his football career, Marshall played 12 seasons with the National Football League, and 10 with the New York Giants, in the 1980s. In that time, the Louisiana State University alum accumulated 79.5 sacks, which earned him the rank of No. 3 in team history. Among his many other achievements, Marshall won Super Bowl XXI and XXV with the Giants for which he recorded three sacks, was named NFL Defensive Lineman of the Year following the 1985 and 1986 seasons, and was selected twice to play in the Pro Bowl.

Marshall is perhaps most notorious for his hit on Joe Montana in 1991, which knocked him out of the NFC championship game and resulted in the Comeback Kid missing regular season games for the two years that followed.

After his stint with the Giants, Marshall played a season each for the New York Jets and Washington Redskins before he retired at 33.

Following his diagnosis with CTE seven years ago, Marshall quickly became an advocate for the disease and continues to be involved in efforts to raise awareness. In recognition of his advocacy and philanthropic support of the organization, Marshall was honored at the Foundation’s Annual Courage Awards Gala in 2016. 

“We are thrilled to formally recognize Leonard Marshall’s ongoing support by recognizing him as an honorary member of the CarePlus Foundation Board of Trustees,” said Keri Diamond, associate development director for the Foundation. “At CarePlus, we’ve always recognized that health care should be addressed through comprehensive, integrated treatment and this is especially true for brain injury and mental health. We look forward to continuing to work with Leonard as well as the rest of our dedicated board of trustees to make a difference in the lives of those with mental health issues in the community.”

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