University News

Former Pro Football Player Kareem Mckenzie Pursuing Graduate Degree in Professional Counseling at William Paterson to Help Retiring Players as They Transition off the Field

Kareem M. McKenzie, whose 11-year National Football League career included stints with the New York Giants and the New York Jets and two Super Bowl championships, has a new mission in retirement: to help other retiring professional football players and military veterans make the transition to life off the field.

McKenzie, an offensive lineman who retired in 2011, is now enrolled in a master’s program in professional counseling at William Paterson University in Wayne, N.J. The program’s mental health concentration prepares students to sit for the National Certification Exam, one of the steps leading to licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). The LPC will allow McKenzie to be a professional counselor offering mental health therapy to individuals and groups.

McKenzie had noticed that, too often, players lack direction as their sports careers end—it is all they have known and prepared for. McKenzie said that he, like many others, struggled with his own identity issues as he walked away from his athletic career. As a licensed professional counselor, McKenzie hopes to assist players transitioning into a new phase of professional and personal life.