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Robby Felix, NFL Lineman with Stroke at Age 22
I am your godmother wannabe. Like so many, I cheer at your successes. On the one hand, your attempt to return to the NFL inspires me. On the other hand, it scares the buhjeebers out of me. As your godmother, I have your best interests at the front of my heart.
Stroke at age 22
Robby, you were the victim of a bizarre stroke at age 22 and now are returning to pro football. You obviously love the game and get many positives it: a sense of personal power (not a bad thing; all humans have this need) through accomplishing the duties of your job, approval and praise needs met by the happiness of your teammates and coach and praise from fans and family, endorphins from physical exertion, and the magic that football holds for you.
What I don’t like is that this sport is high on the brain-injury probability scale. Any sport in which helmets are required ….Robby, please look askance at these. Your brain already had one challenge which you worked through (with incredible determination and success); let’s not further challenge it. Am I asking you to become a desk job person? Nooooo. That is not you. However, I suggest that you cross boxing, hockey, rugby, white water rafting, car racing and football off your list.
So, what can meet your needs? Let’s include occupations which “require” being outdoors, sprinting, and weight resistance work.
UPS driver -- If you didn’t know that they sprint --- believe you me, just shadow a driver for a day. They must be able to lift 70 pound packages and they constantly trot in and out of doors. Just think of the package as the pigskin.
High school or college phys ed teacher/coach – You can do sprinting with the young athletes, use the school’s weight room as much as you want, but pass on body contact with others. You will be contributing to the sport you love, but not putting your skull out there under the steamroller.
New Jersey shore lifeguard – Obviously, this is an outdoor job requiring, according to onetonline.org, “considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body.” Every morning the Ocean City, New Jersey guards run two miles and row a boat out in the ocean just to keep in shape. Ocean rowing is equivalent to mucho weight resistance. This sounds like a good new job for you. Can you swim?
Amish / Mennonite farmer – Here is a vocation requiring lots of time outdoors and excellent weight resistance in daily tasks. Just think how satisfying it would be to develop your body while simultaneously producing food for your family and the community beyond. I am not as confident about how much sprint work is in farming, but maybe you can work that in. Your personal strength of determination and faith (in yourself as you worked to overcome the effects of the stroke, and in life to show you the way and fairly reward your hard work) will be extremely helpful in farming. Do you like horses and mules?
Tri-athlete – Running, biking, and swimming with no physical contact with others. It could be your new cup of tea. But, can a person earn a living from it?
Forestry professional - You could be in the ever-changing outdoors, sprinting in rough woodland terrain, and lifting a fallen tree on occasion. Use your skills to sustain forest timber, creatures, or water resources. Maybe you’d even get a uniform as spiffy as the Jets' ones.
Listen, sweetie, what I know about you comes from the media. If you rang my doorbell I probably would not recognize you right away. However, your story touches me. I want good things for you and your family. So, think about my advice. If any of it rings true in your heart of hearts, make the move!