About David Ball
It is hard for me to explain how opposite my career path has been. I joke and tell people I went from brain smashing to brain nurturing. The NFL is centered around attacking, competing, and implementing violence on others. Mental health psychotherapy (talk therapy) is about accepting, nurturing, and providing an environment for people to heal and grow. However, both professions are similar in those people who are intentional and committed to themselves are often successful.
My Career Past
Life as a defensive end in the NFL lasted 9 intense years (2004-2012). I played for the Chargers, the Jets, the Panthers, and eventually ended up in Nashville with the Titans. Throughout my career in athletics I was able to maintain an intense focus on “getting better”. I poured most of my passion, time, and energy into working on my pass-rush ability. Eventually, my body stopped performing at a high level and my football career ended. When my NFL career stopped life was extremely challenging. The purpose and structure I had for the past twenty years evaporated when I left the game. I felt lost…..It is terrifying to feel lost. The struggle of being lost eventually lead me to reach out to friends, professionals, mentors, and family to get back on track. This challenging period in my life gives me insight and empathy for people who face intense career and life transitions.
After professional football ended I went back to school and earned my MBA at George Washington University. In grad school, I learned about business and created a sports analytics company that centered around helping coaches better understand their athletes' mental and emotional struggles. My program gathered anonymous psychological survey feedback from athletes on a weekly basis. I had the pleasure of working with 30 college and high school sports teams. The best part of my time as an entrepreneur was connecting with coaches and athletes on a relational basis. Getting anonymous athlete survey data is an eye-opening experience into the real-life struggles of young people (which I had already experienced as a player). When I was able to help coaches or players I felt incredibly fulfilled. Unfortunately, working one on one with coaches or players was only about 15% of my time as an entrepreneur. The other 85% of my time was spent on growth strategy, accounting, internet marketing, and email reach outs (which is NOT where I thrive). It was painful to realize my entrepreneurial life was not a permanent fit for me. But this pain leads me to incredible fulfillment and growth in my work as a therapist.
My past experience as a client in therapy, my history working with coaches and players on a mental health analytics platform, and my desire to connect and help people lead to my interest in learning about mental health counseling. I enrolled in the Lipscomb graduate program around 2016 and closed up my business soon after. Going to Lipscomb and transitioning into professional counseling has been life-affirming for me. Diving into the world of feelings, emotions, relationships, and psychology is incredibly demanding and equally rewarding. Being a professional counselor means connecting with people in their most vulnerable states. Clients consistently inspire me with stories of survival, resilience, and courage. I am fortunate to be able to work in a profession that is so meaningful.
My wife and three sons are incredible people and I am extremely fortunate to be connected to them. Each day I feel both loved and challenged. We are your typical family in that we share all of life’s ups and downs together. I strive to carry out the values I live by with my family in all decisions and choices outside the home (which is hard!). My wife and three sons make me a more intentional person, friend, and therapist.
I chose to become a therapist because this profession is beautiful, fulfilling, and built around a human connection. I am dedicated to fostering connected relationships with people that can lead to healing life change. Working with people as a therapist gives me incredible fulfillment and satisfaction.
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