Former NFL Player Ryan Mundy Recounts Mental Health Struggles | “I Didn’t Have The Resources … To Better Understand The Next Phase Of My Life”

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Many pro athletes don’t have a sense of focus or a plan for success when their careers come to an end. All they’ve done since a very young age is work extremely hard to be the best they could be in that particular sport. The game of football is often most taxing with all the head and brain injuries that can occur over a career.

That’s why having a retirement plan is invaluable. The NFL has increased its acknowledgment that players need support and mental health services after they leave the limelight and fade into obscurity. However, many have slipped through the cracks over the years. Some have never mastered life after football and met unfortunate circumstances. 

Others, such as former NFL defensive back Ryan Mundy, struggled mightily before finding his niche as an entrepreneur. The Super Bowl champion reflected on how badly he was affected by that empty feeling of trying to be a part of society when his playing days were over.

In an interview on “The Pivot Podcast,” Mundy offered some real insight as to how hard it was for him following retirement.

 

 

“I was trying to figure out who and what I am when I’m no longer tackling somebody,” he said. “And I went into the marketplace to, quote, unquote, go see a therapist and had a really, really rough time of it.”

Mundy continued to reflect on his struggles to find mental wellness despite being physically on point. 

“I found that to be like, pretty difficult and disappointing, because I knew how to take care of my knee. I knew how to take care of my shoulder, my back etc. But I didn’t know how to take care of my mind.

“I didn’t have the help and support and the resources to better understand the next phase of my life. And I thought that was really troubling.”

 

 

Mundy Became An Entrepreneur After Football: It Was A Process

While Mundy went into entrepreneurship post football, it was still a chore for him to feel like he was a part of society. For years all he’d done was focus on becoming the best athlete. Finding the complete person within was a challenge. The transition back into the world when that pro ride ends isn’t easy. There’s no switch you flip that helps you seamlessly adjust to “normal” living conditions. It can’t be easy. 

To become a professional athlete takes years of hard work, focus and dedication to the craft. In some ways, you become institutionalized, because that’s all you’ve done for however long you play. It’s a complete shift in one’s identity. 

 

 

That’s why Mundy opened the Alkeme Health Co., a “digital health care company with a mission to become the universal healthcare provider for the Black community.”

On its website, Mundy goes into even greater detail of how he wants to let the Black community know it’s OK to not be OK.

“Alkeme is a platform that’s aggregating the best practitioners across different modalities. I think that’s one part of the sauce. That approach, I think, will continue to make us special and separate from others in the mental health space. The other part is that since we are particularly focused on the Black community, we will be able to go deeper and further than the majority of mental health problems who are serving the general population.”

 

Mundy Had A Solid Career: Won Super Bowl

Mundy spent six seasons in the NFL, playing for the Steelers, Giants and Bears. He was a member of the Steelers 2008 Super Bowl team. The former West Virginia Mountaineer tallied 311 career tackles and six interceptions in his career.