Suicide Survivor Finds Life Purpose in Coaching Athletes through Post-Sports Transition

Many people still struggle with mental illness and depression. As anxiety and burnout rise as one of today’s most prevalent problems, there is now a greater need for professionals who can provide support. The World Health Organization determined in 2019 that one person dies from suicide every forty seconds. And while we understand mental illness more and more by the year, the battle continues for many. 

This reality is what has driven ex-athlete, Darryll Stinson, to pursue a new direction in life. As a suicide survivor himself, the pastor, speaker, and coach knows the struggle of fighting depression. Life has not been easy for Darryll, but through life’s most significant challenges, he has come out triumphant. Today, he looks to help others find the same path. 

Darryll is an ex-football player. He played for Central Michigan University as one of the team’s best defensive ends. However, his dreams of making it big in the sport all came crashing down when he suffered a career-ending back injury. After the incident, he struggled with depression and grief. His loss made him lose a big part of him and caused an enormous gap in his identity. He spent the next few years on a journey of self-discovery and reflection. 

After facing many battles with himself, he found hope and purpose in what would be his life’s work – being a life coach for athletes. “What did Michael Jordan, Princess Diana, Bill Gates, and Oprah Winfrey all have in common? They all used coaches.” Darryll explains. “Even at the peak of their careers, great leaders continue to use coaches to help them achieve more.” The sportsman discovered his gift in guiding athletes who looked to transition out of the sport. What was his most significant loss became an opportunity for him to journey with athletes who were in a similar position.

Darryll started a program called Second Chance Athletes, a program bent on helping current, retiring, and retired athletes plan a life outside of professional sports. Many pro athletes go down a steady decline after sports. After obtaining their dream jobs as star players, they struggle to find new dreams to pursue. Through his program, Darryll helps coach players through that process.

Darryll’s program provides an after sports game plan for athletes who need a blueprint for their lives after their sports career. He does this through one-on-one coaching sessions, personalized coaching curriculum for clients, specific action-oriented life game plans, direct email access, and accountability group work. His programs answer some of a sports players’ most significant transition pain points, such as finding a career after retirement, creating revenue streams, and reestablishing purpose and identity past sports.

On top of his coaching work, Darryll also serves as an executive pastor for Growth Ministries with Life Church International in Duluth, Georgia. The pastor serves as the head of small group ministry, outreach, and attendee experiences. Darryll also takes time to help in character development and faith-based guidance for athletes through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

One of his other causes is fighting against racial profiling. The life coach is in an interracial marriage with his wife, Brittany. He has appeared on channels such as Seven Fox and ABC to speak on their relationship and fight many racial stigmas. Together the two have three wonderful daughters- Ava, Ari, and Amaya.

To learn more about Darryll Stinson and Second Chance Athletes, visit his website and Instagram.