John Edward Heath Continues to Placed on an ‘MVP’ Efficiency Each Day

With slightly extra give attention to core energy and steadiness, John Edward Heath lastly landed a perfect power clean.

The entire quantity of weight Heath pulled was irrelevant contemplating his now-viral 2021 achievement befell barely every week after having his left leg eliminated. As darkish as that second sounds, amputation could barely crack the highest 3 obstacles the previous Marine has needed to overcome.

Heath is fortunate to be alive, after being mowed down by a drunk driver on New Yr’s Day 2016, which resulted within the decrease left half of his physique fully shattered. After 5 years and 12 agonizingly painful reconstructive surgical procedures later, Heath opted for amputation.

However bodily limitations, near-death experiences have by no means slowed Heath down — he was nonetheless performing walking lunges carrying 315 kilos on his shoulders simply after his third surgical procedure.

As a homosexual former Marine, John Edward Heath will ceaselessly carry with him an excellent heavier burden — the each day ache of seeing two individuals who stood closest to him, each his associate and greatest pal, fall sufferer to suicide, an all-too-common epidemic plaguing the military community. Each tragedies have motivated him to turn out to be extra concerned as a psychological well being advocate. “It’s not a title, it’s a mission,” the motivational speaker says of his advocacy function.

Getting the assist for different navy veterans in addition to himself was how Heath connected with Merging Veterans and Players — or MVP — a company based in 2015 by Bellator MMA and NFL on Fox analyst Jay Glazer and former NFL participant and Inexperienced Beret Nate Boyer. MVP’s mission has been to assist each fight veterans and ex-athletes alter to life after service and sports activities by “connecting them after the uniform comes off; offering them with a brand new group to help with transition, promote private improvement, and present them they’re by no means alone.”

Courtesy of MVP

MVP started in Los Angeles and has expanded to seven U.S. cities with two extra branches about to open. In simply six years, Boyer says MVP has labored with greater than 3,000 athletes and veterans whereas on the identical time impacting practically 10,000 lives. Now the group has shaped a partnership with well being giants GNC, below CEO, Josh Burris, has already donated $1 million towards growth and enchancment. It’s a terrific begin, Heath says, for a peer-based assist group that many veterans, together with himself at one level, are nonetheless are reluctant to make the most of, at the same time as practically 17 veterans die every day by suicide, based on latest statistics.

“We don’t discuss it as males — it’s frowned upon for a person to cry,” Heath says. “As a result of we have been raised and wired to imagine that males will not be alleged to really feel something. Now lots of people are, are seeing the adverse final result of that mentality.”

MVP participants and members shadow boxing
Courtesy of MVP


Boyer spent 10 years as a United States Military Inexperienced Beret, serving excursions in in each Iraq and Afghanistan. He went on to the College of Texas, the place he grew to become the group’s lengthy snapper earlier than a quick stint with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. So if anybody may communicate on behalf of adjusting after sports activities and navy, he had each angles lined. What makes MVP completely different from different teams is it focuses on compassion, options, in addition to accountability from its group and members.

“I need folks to be actual with me in a uncooked setting,” Boyer says. “If I’m doing one thing silly, or saying one thing silly, I need folks to carry me accountable. That’s one thing that MVP has, at the least in my expertise, nobody else actually does. It’s a sense of I bought your again and you bought mine.”

As Boyer places it, an MVP assembly is the place bodily meets emotional to create a social secure area for vets and athletes to share emotions and sweat it out on the MMA mats. From busting chops like your typical brotherhood to pushing limits throughout coaching, after the perspiring stops, the feelings open up because the group gathers to share emotions and discover options to issues throughout this time.

“They know what I’m feeling as a result of they really lived it as properly,” Boyer says. “It’s our peer-to-peer assist factor. We’re not licensed therapists after we’re sitting in that room, however that’s not at all times what you want. When somebody’s in that room simply nodding their head, it’s as a result of they’ve seen and lived what you’re going. They know precisely what that appears like.”

It’s this assist system that drove Burris, who was named GNC CEO in 2021, towards lending his assist to MVP. Along with working with Glazer on his Unbreakable line of merchandise, GNC was already actively concerned in veterans assist, having 88 shops on navy bases as many different shops managed by veterans all through the nation.

There was nonetheless extra to be finished, as GNC initially donated $1 million, which went to assist open extra MVP chapters in Phoenix and Pittsburgh. Among the many requirements MVP was in a position to provide included elevated staffing — hiring licensed medical staffers to assist in extraordinary conditions in addition to safe extra health club area for its conferences.

“I can’t communicate for the way veterans really feel,” Burris says, ”however I’ve had the pleasure of our involvement and being on the board of MVP and been in on a few of the conferences at a number of chapters. From the skin, I’d say the commonest theme is folks searching for a brotherhood or some sense of belonging to one thing exterior of themselves.”

Merging Vets & Players sparring
Courtesy of MVP

JOHN 2.0

John Edward Heath will get round fairly easily with a newly fitted prosthetic carbon fiber leg — therefore his social media deal with @Carbonfiber_john — and likewise through snowboard, as he’s coaching to turn out to be a member of the U.S. Paralympic Snowboarding group and qualify for the 2024 video games. It’s a change after all for the powerlifter, after the Worldwide Olympic Committee’s determined to take away weightlifting from the 2028 Video games squashed his alternative to make that group. And there’s extra to grasp, he says.

“In the event you requested the place my head’s at, I’m actually attempting to achieve for any alternatives that individuals are going to provide me,” Heath says. “I need to skydive once more as an amputee, I need to compete, I need to swim, possibly not competitively, however I’ve bought to get again within the pool. It’s like I’ve been reborn.”

Heath’s a powerlifter, snowboarder, adaptive athlete with goals of Olympic and Paralympic gold, a comeback story for the ages for a foster little one with a far-from-fairytale childhood, he admits.

As an athlete, psychological well being advocate, and motivational speaker, Heath continues transferring ahead, which is likely one of the causes he gravitated towards MVP. One of many difficulties Heath sees with assist teams is its tendencies to dwell on previous occasions. “I believe the veteran group has a flaw of falling into the sufferer mentality,” he says. “Lots of people stay prior to now, and as a substitute of redefining who they’re and growing a brand new model of themselves post-service, they’re nonetheless dwelling prior to now. And that’s not wholesome.”

After battling acceptance points within the navy for being homosexual, his introduction to MVP was met with little or no fanfare, which was a welcome aid. “I’ve been attempting to let go of navy anger of what occurred to me,” he says. So once I advised my story to MVP, no one blinked or cared, which I had by no means skilled within the navy.”

Considered one of his greatest supporters now’s Glazer, who put Heath involved with Las Vegas Raiders defensive finish Carl Nassib, who got here out as homosexual in June of 2021. There was no stress or strings, Heath says, simply an open invite in the meanwhile Heath felt comfy telling his story.

“[Jay] took about 25 minutes to return discuss with me whereas I used to be ready for him, and I actually didn’t know him,” he says. “Nate’s turn out to be a very good pal as properly. I simply assume MVP is completely different.”

But for different veterans, strolling via the door for the primary time in seek for assist stays a debilitating battle. It’s why Boyer nonetheless will get impressed every time a brand new face joins an MVP assembly.

“It’s nonetheless cool to look at any individual stroll in that door — possibly a first-timer who’s by no means been right here — and never know what to anticipate,” Boyer says. “They usually develop that consolation degree wherein it was nowhere close to what they anticipated. We’re all right here to assist one another, like, we simply went via one thing that’s, you recognize, bodily difficult. However nobody left anyone behind, we bought it collectively.”

Even Heath had his preliminary doubts about becoming a member of. Now he encourages anybody who’s struggling emotionally to provide it a strive.

“In the event that they’re searching for precise improvement of character, then they should be part of MVP,” he says. “It’s not simply character, for anybody who’s actually struggling and must heal, they should look into MVP.”

Comply with John Edward Heath on Instagram @carbonfiber_john_.

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