Darryl Blackstock's decision to retire from football might have been made for him, but he was determined to not let his future career, academic, or financial decisions hold the same fate.
After an ankle injury in 2012, reality set in for Blackstock.
"It was scary. As players, one of our greatest flaws tend to be we don't know how to transition. We struggle with transitioning from something we love to do, to something we might like to do or love as much," he said. "Not having an idea of what you want to do after football, while you're still playing, means you'll be measuring everything up to what you just came from."
"Not having an idea of what you want to do after football, while you're still playing, means you'll be measuring everything up to what you just came from."
His use of The Trust and its partners is an example of how outside support can play a pivotal role in a player's transition and their success after football.
"My first introduction to The Trust was by first speaking to Hannibal Navies. He gave me a lot of great insight," Blackstock recalled. "We played the same position, so he was able to give me a roadmap of what was to be expected."
Blackstock used the Scholarship Award Benefit to go back to school and finish his business degree. After deciding he wanted to continue excelling academically, he went on to get his masters, which sparked new interests.
"I started to get into real estate and learn about capital markets. I wanted to understand money. As we all know, athletes go through a lot of money. After not being financially prepared when I got hurt, I wanted to figure out what was the problem," Blackstock stated. "For a lot of us, we lack understanding or we're uneducated in many areas outside of sports. After my experience, I wanted to understand investments and how money markets work. I dove in and just started gravitating toward different industries: finance, real estate, and business in general."
"After not being financially prepared when I got hurt, I wanted to figure out what was the problem," Blackstock stated. "For a lot of us, we lack understanding or we’re uneducated in many areas outside of sports."
AthLife, The Trust’s partner for support in continuing education and career development, has been instrumental in Blackstock's continued growth since 2014. He says it's because they truly care about his transition.
"AthLife has been a blessing. Carrie Ledger White (Chief Operating Officer) basically took me from scratch and told me, 'If you do the work, you'll be able to excel and take everything to the next level.' I took every step of the process seriously," he explained. "I'm still growing, still learning, and I'm working on my third degree right now."
'If you do the work, you’ll be able to excel and take everything to the next level.'