Sidelined Stories

Sidelined Stories

Stories of sidelined athletes who overcame their setback of no longer being able to compete in their sport due to career-ending injury, health condition, or concussion risk. Explore their journey through their ups and downs.... Show More

Episodes

Having experienced multiple concussions in his football career, Northwestern University cornerback Matthew Harris understood the risks he was taking returning to play. Following recovery from another severe concussion, Matthew knew he had some hard decisions to make regarding his future in football. As one of the top cornerbacks in the BIG10 and projected to be an NFL recruit, he made a personal decision to keep pushing towards his...

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Following a severe labrum tear that derailed her dancing career in college, Chrissy Papetti spent the next several years working through an intense physical recovery on top of the emotional journey following the loss of her craft. Many athletes sidelined by injury experience an additional layer of complexity in their transitions forward - the physical rehabilitation to rebuild a normal quality of life. Walking around and exploring ...



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With her sights set on earning a spot on the Olympic ice skating team, Val Jones was devastated when at 18, she was told she could never skate again following one severe knee injury. Just one triple lutz gone wrong and everything she had worked for her entire life was stripped away. Without any support resources or someone to help her talk through her loss, Val found herself processing that deep grief on her own and struggled for y...

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Sidelined from their sports due to injury, many athletes begin to wonder, “What’s next for me?” When that sidelining event corresponds with reflections about future career choices, many find a logical connection to the field of sports medicine. Sports psychology, orthopaedic medicine, cardiology, athletic training, and physical therapy are all great fields to consider for sidelined athletes who want to stay involved in sports and m...

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His freshman year of high school, Dexter Hollingsworth faced the complex decision to discontinue football due to a series of concussions that left him vulnerable to long-term brain health damage if he continued. Dexter shares about this difficult decision and how the support of his family, team, and coaching staff enabled him to find a positive path forward. Dexter speaks about the transformative power of staying involved in the sp...

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It's been said that there's no testimony without a test. For NFL Player, Johnathan Franklin, that test was an unforgiving and brutal reality check that one play can destroy an athlete's career at any moment's notice. Listen to accomplished RB, Johnathan Franklin's testimony about the after-math of learning that no doctor would ever clear him to play again after a spinal contusion suffered in a game against the M...
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The story of how one major concussion sidelined Alissa Boyhtari's hockey career and forced her to carve a different path forward. Alissa shares her experience with concussions during her teen years and the pressure she felt to "tough it out" as a competitive athlete. Hear her story of her path to brain health recovery and how she resolved to listen to her body instead of the external pressures to get back to "normal...
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The story of Jonathan Meldrum, a former Syracuse offensive tackle. Jonathan opens up about his battle with depression during his collegiate career as well as the depression he experienced after becoming permanently sidelined due to repeat knee injuries. An NFL hopeful, Jonathan talks about his struggle to accept the reality that his playing days were over and discusses the impact of the loss of the affirmation, accolades, and ident...
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August 14, 2018 31 min


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The story of Chris Norton, a former football player for the Luther College Norse. His career ended when he became paralyzed while making a tackle during a kick off. He was given a 3% chance of ever regaining movement below the neck, but, through grit and determination has chosen to move forward and defied those odds. Today he manages his non-profit foundation and works full-time as a motivational speaker. Hear Chris' incredible...
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The story of Brett Ball, a former basketball player for South Carolina who was forced to quit competition in college after being diagnosed with a heart condition. Brett opens up about her resistance to getting help from a sports psychologist, her anger with God, and the significance of finding other sidelined athletes to talk to.
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The story of Devin Hedgepeth, a former football player who last played football for Oklahoma State. Devin was a projected first round draft pick for the NFL but was forced to walk away from football after one too many Achilles tears. Devin speaks of the heart break and identity loss of having to leave his sport and the resiliency he acquired in overcoming his new reality as a sidelined athlete.
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The story of Erin Walter, a former midfielder who last played for the Saint Louis Athletica. Repeat injuries sidelined Erin permanently and altered the course of her life. Erin speaks of the hardships of having to walk away from a life of soccer and the freedom she experienced when she learned to redefine her value in something more secure. Erin shares how the qualities that made her a top competitor translated to her pursuits in t...
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