On October 5, 2007, Kevin Saum suffered a traumatic brain injury called second impact syndrome during a high school football game, which ended his athletic career and nearly ended his life.
Kevin created the Head's 'N Tales podcast to serve as a platform for other athletes who have been dealt life-altering injuries, illnesses or other obstacles throughout their careers to share their story's and to learn how they persevered in the face of adversity. He additionally interviews subject experts in the sports health industry to provide tools for athletes who are currently writing their own comeback story's. Each week Kevin shares an athlete's story of perseverance or expert knowledge on one of the following topics: injuries, illnesses, obstacles, concussions, or the athlete transition to life after sports.
Kevin highly values his time spent on the football gridiron and wants to see the sport prosper for future generations of athletes. In an attempt to tackle many of the health and safety concerns inherent in the sport, Kevin and his childhood buddy Josh Boyd host a fantasy football injury report every Monday night as a bonus episode throughout each NFL season, where they discuss ways to make the sport safer to play.
Thanks for tuning in and there is no doubt your story will resonate with those of the guests on the show.
"Talk To 'Em" (Your Negative Thoughts) Athlete Transformation Through Music Writing w/ Ben Lofrumento
Ben Lofrumento is a former standout tennis and basketball player whose senior season ended before it even began due to a knee injury sustained while training. Ben is currently a college student at the University of Maryland and decided to take a gap year due to COVD-19. Don’t get it twisted, this kid isn’t using this gap to chill out and collect Dorito dust in his Mom’s basement. He is using this time to gain professional experience, create YouTube content and inspire viewers with his expertise on mindset.
I came across Ben’s road to recovery on my good friend George Muha’s Morris Sussex Sports (MSS) podcast (featured further down in this post). Off the bat I was extremely impressed with the maturity level of Ben’s approach to his recovery from his knee injury and more recently his shoulder surgery. After speaking with Ben on the phone after his interview on MSS, I learned about some creative and healthy outlets Ben immersed himself in while most would be sitting around feeling sorry for themselves. Specifically, Ben took up music writing and recording and ended up recording an album. He is most proud of the song “Talk To ‘Em,” which is featured below. I recommend listening to the SONG prior to listening to the interview, because we spend the majority of interview dissecting lines of the song.
We also had an interesting realization that the process for transformation’s to life after sports often start with activities that start off as distractions, but quickly become fun due to gaining progress in the task at hand, and in Ben’s case, this was writing music. For me, it happened to be creating this podcast.
The Role of Mindfulness and Meditation in the Transformation to Life After Sports w/ Prince Daniels Jr.
In this episode former NFL running back, Prince Daniels Jr discusses the role mindfullness and meditation played in helping him overcome the dark days during his transition to life after football and ultimately transform himself into the author of the book Mindfullness for the Ultimate Athlete.
I was fortunate enough to be sent a copy of Prince's book and learned not only how to meditate, but how mindfullness and meditation can be used to transform your life and in some cases, save your life.
During my conversation with Prince Daniels, he tells his story in great detail about how he was very close to taking his own life after his NFL career came to an end after a shoulder injury.
The segment of our conversation that discussed the relationship between Spirit, Mind, and Body and how it translates to the transformation to life after sports is something I continue to reflect on.
Where can you connect with Prince online?
WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM
How To Become a Durable Athlete w/ Natalie Higby
Natalie Higby is a Co-Founder of The Durable Athlete, which is a company dedicated to spreading the word about how simple changes week after week can help you get stronger, feel better, and live longer. Natalie also serves as a Health and Wellness Coach at the Onnit Academy, which is a gym in Austin, Texas where the goal is the optimize both the mind and body. I came across Natalie’s work while looking into the durability course that Onnit offers. Specifically, I came across an Instagram post (quotes below) of Natalie’s where she described overcoming arthritic knee pain through consistently doing the small things in the areas of Breath, Movement, Sleep and Nutrition that ultimately alleviated her pain.
“ I WAS TOLD BY A DOCTOR THAT I HAVE ARTHRITIS IN MY KNEES, BUT RATHER THAN USING THAT AS AN EXCUSE TO STOP MOVING, I USED IT TO MOTIVATE ME TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!…YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHOOSE YOUR DAILY ACTIONS AND HABITS THAT WILL IMPACT YOUR OVERALL HEALTH FOR YEARS TO COME. CHOOSE WISELY”!
I believe I was always think of myself as an athlete. For those of you that have been longtime followers of the podcast, you know that I have struggled with a knee injury that always continues to linger. Natalie’s lines above really resonated with me, because when my daily habits include Breath, Movement, Sleep and Nutrition my knee almost always feels some much better and my performance improves dramatically. The moment I stray away from these habits, the pain quickly returns. I brought Natalie on the podcast to teach us about some of the daily habits she incorporates with her clients and into her own training regimen to remain pain free.
In this interview Natalie and I dive into the topics listed below and more!
Background on Natalie’s athletic career and injuries suffered.
Natalie’s transformation to life after college basketball.
Advice for athletes to help them transform in their lives after sports.
What led to the creation of The Durable Athlete?
What goes in to creating a durable athlete?
How can The Durable athlete help athletes during their careers and post career.
The daily habits that led to Natalie’s pain free performance.
The services Natalie and Cristian offer through The Durable Athlete.
The Influence CrossFit has on her coaching today.
An explanation of the Onnit Academy and what it’s like to work there.
WHERE CAN YOU CONNECT WITH NATALIE?
INSTAGRAM | THE DURABLE ATHLETE
Download Episode 156 : iTunes |
Back to Back Undefeated State Titles And Never Tackled at Practice w/ Coach Drew Gibbs
Coach Drew Gibbs has been the Head Football Coach at Ramapo High School since 2001 and has won 7 state titles during that time. He was inducted into the New Jersey Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 2014. Most recently, his team has won back to back undefeated state titles in 2018 and 2019 (26 wins in a row) all while placing a high emphasis on player safety. A 2019 Washington Post Article featured coach Gibbs and his strategy of excluding live tackling drills from practice in an attempt to minimize the risk of injury to his players. In this episode, we learn how Coach Gibbs achieved this while ensuring his players are prepared to tackle safely and effectively on Friday nights.
Below are some of the other topics we touch on throughout this article:
What influenced his decision to remove tackling from practice.
How much of his recent and past successes can be credited to the health and safety of his players.
How his tackling drills have evolved?
Why Coach emphasizes “Staying off the ground."
Rugby style tackling.
Personality types and who coach worries about the most.
How coach toes the line between safety and aggression and how he communicates that with his players.
How the culture of safety evolved since he began coaching.
Why football is safer than it’s ever been.
Coaches definition of toughness.
Where can you follow coach Gibbs?
Crafting Your Game Plan For Life After Sports w/ Rob Thompson
Rob Thompson currently works in Athletic Development and is a Sport Management Adjunct Professor at the University of New Haven. He is also the host of SportsBiz Radio and authored the Book “Sports Dream Job Playbook.” Additionally, Rob is the Founder of GamePlanU which provides emerging sports tech ideation-2-execution accelerators and connects innovators to investors. In this interview Rob and I discuss how entrepreneurship eased his transition to life after professional football and how it might be a good option for you as well!
Below is a list of topics with cover throughout the interview:
How a professor at the University of New Haven diagnosed him with Dyslexia and how it changed his academic performance and his life.
The path that led him to the NFL, Coaching and eventually GamePlanU.
Never wanted football to define him. I don’t want to be that guy.
Why a lot of Entrepreneurs have dyslexia.
Why self-awareness and managing your expectations is important in preparing for life after sports.
I didn’t know what else to do (became a coach after professional career)
Found a niche in recruiting how that led to his first entrepreneurship endeavor
The reliance on networking in that endeavor
His experience working at the NFL with the youth development programs
Rob’s thoughts on the current state of safety in football
Do athletes make good entrepreneurs?
Why female athletes are even more prepared to excel after sports.
GamePlanU as the bridge of discovery
Finding your Passion vs. Purpose
Who is ultimately responsible for preparing athletes for life after sports
SportsBiz Radio Podcast
WHERE CAN YOU CONNECT WITH ROB ONLINE?
WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM | LINKEDIN
Download Episode 154 : iTunes | Stitcher
Why it's a Transformation, Not a Transition to life after sports, w/ Vince Ruiz
The way I met U.S. Army Veteran, Travis Manion Foundation Mentor and Mental Health Professional, Vince Ruiz was confirmation that there are no accidents in life. Vince and I met at the first ever Between The Ears “Link-Up,” which was founded by one of my former guests and mentors, Bill Anthes. Vince and his buddy just happened to hop in my truck as we car-pooled to a local hiking trail near the Phoenicia Diner in upstate NY. Vince had heard of my podcast from his prior interactions with Bill and started asking me questions about it at the base of the trailhead when we arrived. I began to explain how I interview injured athletes and discuss the transition to life after sports. Without hesitation, Vince followed up on my description with almost a correction of my wording by saying something like “Right on, the TRANSFORMATION.”
Although I had heard this one word (TRANSFORMATION) 1000 times, for whatever reason hearing it come from Vince really struck a cord with me on this day. I had been hosting this podcast and recorded over 150 interviews and had never heard anyone put it that way. In my mind, a transition requires one to only just go through the motions and it makes the situation seem out of your control. On the contrary, I believe “Transformation” stands for growth through action. I love looking at an athletes life after sports from the latter lens. The more I thought about the word, the more I realized how it applied to my own transformation, which was a direct result of starting this podcast and seeking the answers from those who had been there before me, while also shining a light into the darkness for those struggling after me. In this episode, Vince shines an even brighter light into the darkness of the life after sports by taking us through the story of his own struggles with PTSD and addiction after retiring from the military and how he is paying it forward today through the Travis Manion Foundation.
WHERE CAN YOU CONNECT WITH Vince ONLINE?
INSTAGRAM | Facebook
Customer ReviewsSee All
Love this podcast!
This is an incredible podcast, as Kevin is an exceptional active listener and he has no problem being vulnerable. His journey to inspire and uplift is magnetic and I feel honored to listen to his exceptional work!
Five Stars! ⭐️
This is an incredible resource for anyone struggling to persevere and overcome life’s adversities. Each episode delivers valuable and relevant information to help athletes and parents alike. Kevin is well educated and informed on the topics he covers and most importantly is empathetic and compassionate toward his guests. He is also a survivor. He walks the talk.
Incredibly helpful through my injury
I suffered a concussion and PCS thereafter and this was and is incredibly helpful in my healing process.. Thank you so much!