With more focus on core strength and balance, John Edward Heath finally gets The perfect power clean.
Considering Heath’s 2021 achievement comes just a week after his left leg was amputated, Heathra’s total weight doesn’t matter. As dark as that moment sounded, the amputation may have done little to crack the top three hurdles the former Marine had to overcome.
Heath, lucky to be alive, was mowed down by a drunk driver on New Year’s Day 2016, leaving his lower left body completely shattered. After five years and 12 painful reconstructive surgeries, Heath opted for amputation.
But physical limitations and near-death experiences never slowed Heath — he still perform walking lunges After the third operation, he carried 315 pounds on his shoulders.
As a gay ex-Marine, John Edward Heath will always carry a heavier burden – seeing the two people standing by his side every day, his partner and the best Friends, it’s all too common to be a victim of suicide.plagued by epidemics militaryBoth tragedies prompted him to become more involved with mental health advocates. “It’s not a title, it’s a mission,” the motivational speaker said of his advocacy role.
Getting the support of other veterans and himself is Heath’s Merge Veterans and Players — or MVP — an organization founded in 2015 by Bellator MMA and NFL on Fox Analysts Jay Glazer and former NFL player and green beret Nate Boyer. MVP’s mission is to help veterans and ex-athletes adjust to life after service and sports, “connecting them after their uniforms are removed; providing them with a new team to assist with the transition, facilitate personal development, and show them where they are from Not alone.”
MVP started in Los Angeles and has now expanded to seven cities in the US, with two additional locations opening soon. In just six years, MVP has worked with more than 3,000 athletes and veterans while impacting nearly 10,000 lives, Boyer said.Now, the group has formed a partnership with health giant GNC, in Josh Burris CEO, $1 million has been donated for expansion and improvement. Heath said it’s a good start for a peer-based support group, although according to recent statistics, even though nearly 17 veterans die by suicide every day, many veterans, including himself Inside, still reluctant to take advantage of this group.
“We don’t talk about it as men — it’s not welcome for men to cry,” Heath said. “Because we grew up thinking that men shouldn’t feel anything. Now a lot of people are seeing the negative consequences of that mindset.”
It’s a team effort by John Edward Heath
Boyer served 10 years as a U.S. Army Green Beret, serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. He went to the University of Texas, where he became the team’s flutist, and then briefly played with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. So if anyone can speak on behalf of the adjustment after sports and the military, he covers both angles. What sets an MVP apart from other teams is its focus on team and member empathy, resolution, and accountability.
“I want people to be authentic to me in a pristine setting,” Boyer said. “If I’m doing stupid things, or saying stupid things, I want people to hold me accountable. That’s what the MVP has, at least in my experience, nobody else has. It’s a feeling that I’m behind you and you’re behind me .”
As Boyer puts it, the MVP meeting is where the body meets the emotion, creating a socially safe space for vets and athletes to share feelings and sweat on the MMA mat. From breaking chops like a typical bromance to pushing your limits during training, after you stop sweating, emotions open up as teams come together to share feelings and find solutions to problems in the meantime.
“They know how I feel because they actually experience it too,” Boyer said. “It’s our peer-to-peer support element. We’re not licensed therapists when we’re sitting in that room, but that’s not always what you need. When someone is in that room and just nods, it’s because of them Have seen and lived your life. They know exactly what that feels like.”
It’s this support system that drives Burris, named GNC CEO in 2021, to support the MVP. In addition to working with Glazer on his Unbreakable line of products, GNC is actively involved in supporting veterans with 88 stores on military bases, like many others run by veterans across the country.
There’s more work to be done, as GNC donated an initial $1 million to help open more MVP chapters in Phoenix and Pittsburgh. Among the necessities MVPs can provide are increased staffing — hiring licensed clinical staff to help in special circumstances and securing additional gym space for their meetings.
“I can’t speak to how the veterans feel,” Burris said, “but I’m glad we got involved, were on the board of MVPs, and attended some meetings in several chapters. From the outside, I’d say the most common The theme is people looking for brotherhood or some sense of belonging to something other than themselves.”
John Edward Heath walks around with ease with a newly fitted carbon fibre prosthesis – hence his social media handle @Carbonfiber_john — also through snowboarding, as he is training to be part of the U.S. Paralympic snowboard team and be eligible to compete in 2024. It was certainly a change for the powerlifter after the International Olympic Committee decided to drop weightlifting from the 2028 Olympics, killing his chances of joining the team. There’s more to master, he said.
“If you ask where my head is, I really want to take whatever opportunity people give me,” Heath said. “As an amputee, I want to skydive again, I want to compete, I want to swim, maybe not competitive, but I have to go back to the pool. It’s like I’m reborn.”
Heath admits he’s a weightlifter, snowboarder, adaptable athlete who dreams of Olympic and Paralympic gold medals in a comeback tale of a foster child that is far from a fairytale childhood.
As an athlete, mental health advocate, and motivational speaker, Heath continues to move forward, which is one of the reasons he was drawn to the MVP. One of the difficulties Heath sees in support groups is its tendency to dwell on past events. “I think there’s a flaw in the veterans community to fall into a victim mentality,” he said. “A lot of people are living in the past, and instead of redefining who they are and developing a new version of themselves after serving, they are still living in the past. It’s not healthy.”
His introduction to the MVP with little or no fanfare is a welcome relief after battling the military’s acceptance of homosexuality. “I’ve been trying to dispel the military anger that’s happened to me,” he said. So no one blinked or cared when I told my story to the MVP, which I never experienced in the military. “
One of his biggest supporters now is Glazer, who put Heath in touch with Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carlos Nassib, who came out as gay in June 2021. Heath said there was no pressure or condition, it was just an open invitation at the moment Heath would be happy to tell his story.
“[Jay] I spent about 25 minutes talking to me while I was waiting for him, and I didn’t really know him,” he said. “Nate became a really good friend as well. I just think MVP is different. “
For other veterans, however, walking through the door for help for the first time remains a debilitating struggle. That’s why Boyer is still inspired every time a new face joins the MVP conference.
“It’s still cool to see someone walk through that door — maybe a newbie who’s never been here — and don’t know what to expect,” Boyer said. “And they’re nowhere near as comfortable as they expected. We’re all here to support each other, and it’s like, we’ve just been through some, you know, physical challenges. But nobody left anyone, we’re together.”
Even Heath initially had doubts about joining. Now, he encourages anyone struggling emotionally to try it.
“If they’re looking for actual development of the character, then they need to be on the MVP,” he said. “It’s not just about character, for anyone who is really struggling and needs healing, they need to work on MVP.”
Follow John Edward Heath on Instagram @carbonfiber_john_.