One moment, Keith Mitchell is a linebacker on a football field, wearing a jersey emblazoned with the number 59. In the next moment, he’s taken the hardest hit of his career. One moment, he’s an alpha male gladiator playing for the Jacksonville Jaguars, in the next moment, he’s in a hospital bed with a spinal injury, paralyzed and helpless. This moment began the end of the professional career that he’d been in training for since growing up in Garland, Texas. Mitchell was an acclaimed player at Texas A & M before playing with the New Orleans Saints (where he was a Pro Bowl player in 2000), the Houston Texans, and then the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Mitchell has now tapped into the same discipline that brought him success on the football field and applied it to his present career as a nonprofit leader, mindfulness and yoga teacher, and inspirational speaker. He’s traveling the country sharing his story of a journey from paralysis to wellness. It resonates with Mitchell’s audiences that range from youth to veterans, senators and congresspeople, and professional athletes. While he longer dons the 59 jersey to play coliseums as an NFL player, his next play involves taking his message to coliseums—this month specifically to the LA Memorial Coliseum. At the beginning of 2015, he spearheaded the Mindful Living Health Expo & AltaMed 5K. (He’s partnering with AltaMed, the nation’s largest community health center and his own nonprofit Light it Up Foundation.)
In addition to the Mindful Living event, Mitchell has partnered with the Wanderlust Festival in 2015. He’ll be speaking in multiple cities at Wanderlust festivals and for Wanderlust 108—one-day urban events throughout the country.