American football legend Abby Wambach told Sportzshala she intends to completely divest herself of Brett Favre’s concussion drug company, which is at the center of a welfare fraud case in Mississippi.
Wambach, a World Cup winner and two-time gold medalist inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame, was a member of the sports advisory board for Odyssey Health, a pharmaceutical company that said it was developing a nasal spray designed to treat concussions. . The main investor of Odyssey Health is Favre.
According to the lawsuit filed by the state of Mississippi, $2.1 million that should have gone to welfare recipients went to Odyssey Health instead. The company formerly known as Prevacus was linked to the fraud case when arrests were first made in February 2020, with many of the details of the case being reported by the non-profit news organization Mississippi Today.
In an email to Sportzshala on Thursday, Wambach indicated that it wasn’t until she was contacted earlier in the day that she first became aware of the “disturbing information” about Odyssey Health. She said she supported the company as part of a personal effort to reduce the effects of concussion-related injuries.
“Minutes after I learned this new information, I initiated a process to immediately and completely resign from any involvement – financial or otherwise – with Prevacus/Odyssey Health Inc., a process I insisted on completing today. by the end of the day,” Wambach said.
By Thursday afternoon, Wambach’s association with the company had been removed from its website. NBC News was the first to report the severing of her ties with the company.
Wambach did not respond to interview requests or answer questions about what her role on the advisory board entailed or what financial stake she had in the company.
“Because I sincerely believed that this company was open about a product that could save the next generation of athletes from the severe concussions that I suffered as a professional athlete, I am deeply angry, disappointed and saddened by what I learned today. “Wambach wrote.
Others listed on the company’s website as members of its sports advisory board include former NFL quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Mark Ripien, Chicago Cubs manager David Ross, and former NFL coach Steve Mariucci.
In 2016, Wambach, one of the top soccer players, announced that after her death, her brain would be used for concussion research. Two years later, she appeared with Favre, Warner and Prevacus founder Dr. Jacob VanLendingham on The Today Show to discuss concussions and promote the company.
Favre joined Prevacus in 2014, and by the end of 2018, the former Green Bay Packers quarterback had become the company’s largest outside investor and shareholder, according to a lawsuit filed in May by the state of Mississippi against nearly three dozen defendants, including Favre and Van Landingham. . Favre previously told Men’s Health magazine that he had almost $1 million invested in Prevacus.
According to the lawsuit, Favre in December 2018 urged VanLendingham to approach Nancy New, the owner of a nonprofit organization in Mississippi, to use state Department of Human Services funds to invest in Prevacus. VanLendingham made the offer to sell the shares on January 2, 2019, meeting at Favre’s home with New and John Davis, then the state welfare director, among those present, the lawsuit says.
According to the lawsuit, over the next 10 months, $2.1 million that was earmarked for welfare recipients was transferred to the company “for the purpose of providing ‘clinical trial centers’ to be located in Mississippi.” Instead, the money was used to buy shares in Prevacus for individuals at the center of the scheme, according to the lawsuit.
The written agreement to receive social security funds was part of a “sham” designed to hide financial benefits for Favre, Van Landingham and others, the state claims. The money came from Mississippi Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, a poverty alleviation program.
On February 5, 2021, exactly one year after New, Davis and four others were first arrested in a fraud case, Odyssey announced it had acquired the concussive drug Prevacus.