Written by: Featured News

Former Football Player Tyrell Zimmerman is On A Mission to Address Mental Health and Trauma Among Urban Children – Teams Up with NFL

KISH: Tell us about you..

I am from Waterbury, CT., however, I bounced around a bit. My childhood was kind of strange growing up, losing my dad at a young age and being the oldest of five boys. I also spent some time living in New York and Massachusetts. I experienced drugs, violence and gangs that put me in a situation where I knew I was either going to survive or die. But, I knew I had a purpose in my life and there was something in me that wouldn’t allow me to be consumed by my environment or the circumstances.

I had an opportunity to compete and play football at every level – in high school, college and professionally. I have worked at three of the top financial institutions in the world, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase / Morgan Stanley. I am the author of a children’s book that will impact children not only today, but for decades to come.

KISH: What is your dream and how will accomplishing your dream benefit you and others?

Tyrell: My dream is to do meaningful work that not only impacts me and people today, but also people tomorrow. I was fortunate enough to be able to use football as a vehicle to pursue education, and I continue to pursue goals that will give me opportunities to do great things and to allow me to be a better person in life. I try to use what I have learned to distribute that information to communities that don’t have access to that information or the resources.

KISH: Who or what inspired you to pursue this dream?

Tyrell: I would have to say my younger brothers, my sister and other young people that look like me and come from the same environment as me. I had to decide, either I can be a part of the circumstances or rise above them. With my faith in God, I knew I had a life of purpose, and that was identified at a young age. I just walked in my purpose as someone that is not perfect, but is a trailblazer and pioneer who is able to chase my dreams regardless of my realities.

KISH: What challenges have you encountered while pursuing your dream?

Tyrell: Losing my dad, living in poverty, growing up witnessing people being killed and using drugs with my own eyes. Seeing all kinds of negative things and being discouraged from the lack of support and resources in my family – and of course, being a young black man in this society dealing with all of those things and society already determining that I had little to no likelihood of succeeding in life.

Even when I entered the financial industry, I was faced with being a young black man in an industry that is 97 percent white men. I have dealt with racism and discrimination, and sometimes I wanted to give up, but I didn’t. As an athlete, when I got injured, I had to make the difficult decision to walk away from the sport of football. I had a lot of NFL playing opportunities, but I had to make a decision and realize that my life was greater than just being an athlete.

Last modified: March 11, 2022