American football legend Abby Wambach told ESPN that he intends to step down entirely from the Brett Favre-backed concussion drug company at the center of a Mississippi welfare fraud scandal. .
Wambach, a World Cup winner, two-time gold medalist, and National Soccer Hall of Famer, was a member of the sports advisory board of pharmaceutical company Odyssey Health. Odyssey Health says it is developing a nasal spray designed to treat concussions. Odyssey Health’s top investor is he Favre.
$2.1 million that was supposed to go to welfare recipients was instead directed to Odyssey Health, according to a lawsuit filed by the state of Mississippi. The company, formerly known as Prevacus, was linked to a fraud case when he was first arrested in February 2020. Many of the details of the incident were reported by the non-profit news organization Mississippi Today.
In an email Thursday, Wambach said he first became aware of the “disturbing information” about Odyssey Health when he was contacted by ESPN earlier in the day. She said she supported her company as part of her personal efforts to mitigate the effects of her concussion-related injuries.
“Minutes after becoming aware of this new information, I commenced the process of immediately and completely exiting my financial and other involvement with Prevacus/Odyssey Health Inc. This process will continue until the end of today. claimed to be completed in 2020,” Wambach said.
By Thursday afternoon, Wambach’s ties to the company had been erased from the website.
Wambach did not respond to requests for an interview or respond to questions about her role on the advisory board or what financial interest she has in the company.
“I am deeply offended by what I learned today as this company truly believed in being transparent about a product that could save the next generation of athletes from the devastating effects of the concussion injuries I endured as a professional athlete. , disappointed and saddened,” wrote Wambach.
Other members identified as members of the Sports Advisory Board on the company’s website are former NFL quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Mark Rippien. chicago cubs Manager David Ross, former NFL coach Steve Mariucci. No comments were received.
In 2016, Wambach, one of football’s great headers, announced that her brain would be used for concussion research after her death. Two years later, she appeared on the “Today” show with Dr. Jacob VanLandingham, founder of Favre, Warner, and Prevacus, discussing concussions and promoting the company.
Favre joined Prevacus in 2014, and by late 2018, the former was Green Bay Packers The quarterback was the company’s largest outside investor and shareholder, according to a lawsuit filed by the state of Mississippi in May against nearly 30 defendants, including Ferb and Van Landingham. Favre previously told Men’s Health magazine that he invested nearly $1 million in Prevacus.
According to the lawsuit, Favre asked VanLandingham in December 2018 to invest in Prevacus with Mississippi nonprofit owner Nancy New using funds from the state’s Department of Human Services. . VanLandingham pitched the stock at his Jan. 2, 2019, meeting at her Favre home with New and John Davis, then the state’s welfare director, the lawsuit states.
Over the next 10 months, $2.1 million allocated to welfare beneficiaries was diverted to the company “for the purpose of securing a ‘clinical trial site’ located within the state of Mississippi,” according to the lawsuit. and the funds were instead used to purchase shares in Prevacus for the individuals at the center of the scheme.
The written agreement to obtain welfare funds was part of a “fake” designed to hide financial gains to Favre, VanLandingham, and others, the state claims. , from Temporary Assistance for Families in Need, a Mississippi anti-poverty program.
On February 5, 2021, New, exactly one year after Davis and four others were first arrested in a fraud case, Odyssey announced it was acquiring Prevacus concussion medication.