224: Kevin Reilly living his best life post the NFL & Cancer

November 26, 2021

In today’s episode of ‘Finding your Summit’ podcast, host Mark Pattison, former NFL Player, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist and Mountaineer who has climbed the Seven Summits, talks with guest Kevin Reilly, an American former professional Football Player, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Former Broadcaster for the Philadelphia Eagles Network. Kevin shares, how he found about his tumor and its effect on him for the rest of his life.

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Episode Highlights

  • 01:50 – Mark says, Kevin was an NFL player many years ago. Kevin was drafted in the seventh round same as he was drafted in the seventh round.
  • 03:21 – Kevin shares, it was a little bit of bad luck but the good luck was that he got picked by the Philadelphia Eagles, which was his hometown field.
  • 05:02 – The speed, the side and the athletic ability is at another level when one gets into the NFL, says Kevin.
  • 07:22 – “How you found out about this tumor and then what ensued after that”, asks Mark.
  • 08:40 – Kevin met one of the best orthopedic surgeons in the world at Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York City and his name was Dr. Ralph Marco.
  • 10:05 – The Doctor said that Kevin has Desmoids Tumor that he never heard of.
  • 11:10 – Kevin shares that the doctor did a major operation where he tried to save his arm but it limited the arm to about 50% because he had to take out his shoulder blade which this Desmoids Tumor had attached itself to.
  • 13:10 – Mark asks Kevin that how long did it take for him to kind of accept it.
  • 16:11 – Kevin recalls that he met a guy in his doorway and they both had something in common. He was a World War 2 Veteran and had lost his arm about 35 years ago.
  • 18:20 – The guy said to Kevin that he’ll never be able to tie his tie again. It can’t be done with one hand which he has been trying for 35 years.
  • 20:07 – Kevin mentions how his friend Rocky Blaire (NFL player) motivated him in overcoming his physical trauma.
  • 22:26 – Once we get through something like this, we have a little more confidence that we can attack things, says Kevin.
  • 26:12 – Kevin points out that his kids don’t remember him with an arm so, it was no big deal seeing their dad without it.
  • 28:25– Kevin has found that 98% of the people that he meets are very empathetic towards his situation; they offer help on occasions when he doesn’t even need it, but he thanks them all.
  • 30:08 – Mark asks Kevin about his book which he wrote called – Tackling Life: How Faith, Family, Friends, and Fortitude Kept an NFL Linebacker in the Game.
  • 32:12 – We just got to convince people out there that we’ve been given some talent, find that talent and find out how we can use it to help other people, states Kevin.
  • 34:22 – Mark tells about Kevin that when he walks into the room, he has a presence about himself and so it doesn’t make him any less of a man.
  • 37:30 – Kevin mentions that one of his mentors told him that one should have four things in life – faith, family, friends, and trying to make the world better

Three Key Points

  1. If we have that positive attitude, and we keep trying, we will surprise ourselves.
  2. Kevin says, he always tells people to set goals if they aim at nothing. They’ll hit it every time and then they have to challenge themselves to discipline themselves to get to that point where they win. Sometimes they don’t get to the goal but they’ll end-up a lot higher up the ladder than if they didn’t have any goals at all.
  3. It’s not about the physical, it’s about what’s inside and what’s going to drive us to those magical places and we all need inspiration.

Tweetable Quotes

  • “I played it a half a year with New England but I want your audience to know I played with them before they started cheating.” – Kevin Reilly
  • “One day you’re in next day you’re out and you just never know when that coin is going to flip.” – Mark Pattison
  • “As we all get older nobody really judges you anymore on this guy was no problem.” – Mark Pattison
  • “Nobody even remembers how much the team won or lost but you are part of that team. And as part of that team, you were part of the NFL and it is a special brotherhood.” – Kevin Reilly
  • “He said – I’m going to be lucky if I can save your arm but you will never play another down football because of it.” – Kevin Reilly
  • “I keep looking over at my pictures of my two-year-old my one-year-old an infant and I’m starting to tear-up, how am I going to make a living from them?” – Kevin Reilly
  • “They didn’t even notice I didn’t have an arm.” – Kevin Reilly
  • “If you need a little help, I can’t tell you how many people reach out and I think that’s important.” – Kevin Reilly
  • “One of the problems we’re running into more is there’s too much to worry about.” – Kevin Reilly

Resources Mentioned

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