One World Lifestyle

The Career Ending Injury That Gave Him New Purpose

Keith Mitchell

Keith Mitchell was in the early years of a very successful professional NFL football career when two games into the 2003 season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, his career was cut short. He made a particularly hard hit and ended up flat on his back. It wasn't supposed to be an unusual hit, but from that point on, his journey truly began. Out of a traumatic injury that could have left him bitter and withdrawn, Keith was able to use meditation to grow as a positive and loving person. Now, Keith is giving back; he has taken what he's learned from his recovery and created Mindfulness Health Expos that brings children from different backgrounds together to teach mindful practices of yoga and meditation to the community.

21:05 | 2014

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About Keith Mitchell

In the NFL, Keith Mitchell started in 6 of his 7 seasons. During his 5 seasons with the Saints, Keith started 60 of the 79 games he played, averaging 93 tackles and 4 sacks per season. He recorded 6.5 sacks and two defensive touchdowns during his career, which earned him a place of honor in the Pro Bowl. Keith also played for the Houston Texans from 2002-2003 and for the Jacksonville Jaguars from 2003-2004. As an undrafted player who ultimately achieved All-Pro status, he also won MVP honors, became the NFL's highest-paid undrafted player, and earned admiration as an undrafted pioneer. He was inducted into the Texas A&M Letterman's Association All-Time Hall of Fame in 2015 and is a member of the NFL Players Association.

At the height of his success, a paralyzing tackle led to a horrific spinal injury that ended his career and forced him to retire early at 31 years of age. In this darkest hour, Keith discovered conscious breathing, yoga, and meditation. These practices helped him not only physically, but also helped him gain a greater sense of self-awareness and fulfillment that goes way beyond his passion for football.

As a community activist, in 1999, he founded The Keith Mitchell ReachBack Foundation in Dallas, Texas. The organization collected donations for local families in need during the holidays, developed relationships with major healthcare facilities, and organized teammate visitations to chronically ill children in hospitals.

Keith also works with communities, schools and organizations to introduce meditation, mindfulness and movement through yoga. In 2015, Keith coordinated the Mindful Living Health Expo & AltaMed 5k at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum where he, along with other experts, educated inner city youths on healthy living strategies. Keith remains committed to spreading his message of healing through the act of paying it forward.

Visit his website https://www.keithmitchell59.com

Tags: Light It Up Foundation,