Empowering Leadership and Advocacy: Ovie Mughelli’s Journey from the NFL to Healthcare

In this captivating episode of Boardsi Leadership Talks, host Martin Rowinski, CEO and co-founder of Boardsi, sits down with the extraordinary Ovie Mughelli, a former NFL player who has remarkably transitioned into a vocal advocate for healthcare and environmental sustainability. Mughelli shares his inspiring journey, detailing how his experiences in the high-pressure environment of professional football have equipped him with unique insights into leadership, teamwork, and resilience. This discussion not only explores Mughelli’s personal evolution but also his commitment to leveraging his platform for societal good, particularly in healthcare advocacy and environmental sustainability.

Listeners will gain valuable lessons on the importance of discipline, the power of leading by example, and the impactful role athletes and public figures can play in shaping public health policy and awareness. Ovie’s story is a testament to the potential of transferring skills and values from sports to broader societal challenges, highlighting the intersections of sports, leadership, and social responsibility. Join us as we dive deep into how Ovie Mughelli’s NFL career has informed his approach to leadership and advocacy, and how he’s using his experiences to inspire change and promote health and wellness in communities.

#LeadershipTalks #BoardsiPodcast #OvieMughelli #FromNFLtoAdvocate #HealthcareAdvocacy #EnvironmentalSustainability #LeadershipDevelopment #AthleteActivism #SocialResponsibility #CommunityImpact

Summary:
In this episode, Martin Rowinski interviews Ovie Mughelli, a former NFL player turned healthcare advocate. Ovie shares his journey from professional sports to healthcare and advocacy, highlighting how his experience in the NFL shaped his approach to leadership. He also discusses the inspiration behind his shift to healthcare, influenced by his father’s career as an OBGYN. Ovie emphasizes the importance of discipline in personal health and healthcare leadership, and the role of resilience in facing health challenges. Lastly, he talks about maximizing healthcare benefits and wellness through collaboration and finding the right partners. In this conversation, Ovie Mughelli discusses his role in bringing organizations together and the value he adds to businesses. He also talks about the role of athletes and public figures in shaping public health policy and awareness. Ovie shares his passion for environmental sustainability and his work in creating the Gridiron Green comic book. He gives advice on making a positive impact on health and community, emphasizing the importance of understanding the reasons for being healthy. Ovie also reveals his dream NFL team and expresses his desire to master the skill of hitting a baseball. He concludes by plugging his foundation and health management programs for businesses.
Takeaways

  • Experience in the NFL can shape leadership skills and the ability to make people around you better.
  • Transitioning from professional sports to healthcare requires discipline and the ability to prove oneself.
  • Resilience is crucial in facing health challenges and setbacks.
  • Maximizing healthcare benefits and wellness involves finding the right partners and collaborators.
Chapters

00:00 Introduction to Ovie Mughelli
04:06 NFL Experience and Leadership
08:37 Transition to Healthcare and Advocacy
13:37 Applying Discipline to Personal Health and Healthcare Leadership
24:12 Maximizing Healthcare Benefits and Wellness
26:12 Bringing Organizations Together
27:07 Athletes and Public Health Policy
28:14 Environmental Sustainability
29:09 Creating Gridiron Green
31:06 Making a Positive Impact on Health
33:05 Advice for Health and Community Impact
37:28 Dream NFL Team
41:21 Mastering Baseball
44:22 Plugging the Foundation and Health Management Programs
Transcript:

Martin Rowinski (00:02.222)
Welcome to Leadership Talks, the podcast where we dive into the heart of leadership strategy and impact with some of the most inspiring and innovative minds today. I’m your host, Martin Rowinski, CEO and co-founder of Boardsi. Today, we have the privilege of speaking with Ovie Mughelli, a former NFL player, whose journey from the gridiron to healthcare and advocacy is nothing short

of remarkable. Ovies transitions from professional sports to becoming a vocal advocate for healthcare illuminates a path of purpose, resilience and leadership. Today we’ll explore how the high stakes world of NFL has shaped his approach to leading and advocating for better health outcomes. Welcome to the show.

Ovie Mughelli (00:57.362)
Well, thanks for having me, Martin. I really appreciate it, my friend.

Martin Rowinski (01:00.206)
I’ve been looking forward to this. I mean, I haven’t seen you in a couple of years. And, uh, before we kick it off, I said, I’ll ask you this at the end, but you look great. I mean, just great. Awesome.

Ovie Mughelli (01:13.094)
Thank you. No, um, I have not always looked this, this great. I, uh, just recently had, um, a huge, uh, weight loss journey, uh, unfold. And I’m still, I’m almost where I want to be at, but Martin, I was 320 pounds, uh, for like the last four years, like since the pandemic, I just, everyone gained weight in the pandemic. The problem was I never lost my weight from the pandemic. It was 22, 23, you know,

And I was thrilled, 300, 320 pounds. Like I played at two 50. And so it wasn’t until just recently, four or five months ago, I went back to a Baltimore Ravens game and I hadn’t been to Baltimore to see my teammates and to watch them play in almost 15 years. I went back, my teammates were like, who are you? Because of my face was swollen and I was like an office alignment. I played running back and

They laid into me from Ray Lewis, you know, the Ed Reed and Todd Heap and Jonathan Ogden, all these hall of famers and Ravens, you know, hall of famers were just giving me the business and, you know, guys will be guys, but it’s hard to hurt a little bit. I was like, Oh, come on guys. Like, you know, Lee, you know, I came back with just the motivation to where, you know what? That’s exactly what I need. And like, I love tough love. I love hard coaching. I love people who tell you the truth and who are transparent. And those guys were trans.

Martin Rowinski (02:19.886)
Ha ha!

Ovie Mughelli (02:34.938)
little too transparent. But it got me to the point where I got back to Atlanta and I made sure that you know what, here’s my plan for success. You know, change up my diet, going to Orin Theory fitness and doing hot yoga and just

you know, finding ways to really be intentional about putting myself in positions to win and you know, lo and behold, you know, I got, uh, my abs back and I got like a lot of compliments from people, especially my wife. She she’s been, you know, very grateful that I’ve gone from 320 to 255.

Martin Rowinski (03:09.262)
Hahaha.

That’s awesome. Congratulations. And I’m sure your son is now like, Okay, now now that you look like that guy you showed me a picture of

Ovie Mughelli (03:20.066)
Exactly. He was giving me grief. All my kids, especially my son, because I have a trophy room down here in the basement, where I got all these pictures of me, you know, like a Greek God, you know, a warrior and myself like, Yeah, who is that guy? I’m like, Well, that’s me. He’s like, that’s you. Daddy, look at you. You’re the state puff marshmallow man. And that guy is like, you know, a warrior. I’m like, ouch. Okay, do we know that? But but now like, you know, my son’s like, Daddy, you

Martin Rowinski (03:24.942)
Yeah.

Martin Rowinski (03:28.974)
Who’s that guy?

Martin Rowinski (03:40.59)
I’m sorry.

Ovie Mughelli (03:49.458)
You look like a superhero. I was like, I’m getting there. So it’s cool. Yes, sir.

Martin Rowinski (03:52.27)
Just like that comic book. I love it, I love it. So jumping right into it, can you share how your experience in the NFL has shaped your approach to leadership and advocacy?

Ovie Mughelli (04:06.546)
Yeah, absolutely. Um, the National Football League is something to where when you’re in it, you have you can’t be in all of yourself. You’re not allowed to be like, Oh, my God, I’m some guys still do but the best ones is Tuesday. It’s Sunday. It’s just another day. This is just what I do is who I am. You know, this would have like if you sit there and actually sit back by Oh, my gosh.

I am the top 1% of the top 1%. Oh my goodness. There are 8,000 fans screaming my name. I was like, oh my gosh. Like the people I used to watch when I was in high school and college are sitting right next to me. Like that’s prime time Deion Sanders. I’m at a table eating lunch with Ray Lewis. I used to watch him when he was Miami. Like I’m playing with Tony Gonzalez. Like these are hall of famers, the best ever. If you are in that state, you’ll never really, I think, reach your full potential because you’ll be too busy.

in all of the opportunity that you’ve been put in. But once you retire, and you can kind of reflect on the interactions, the relationships, the lessons you learned, you realize that there are leadership qualities that were being kind of ingrained in you the whole time. You have got to be somebody who makes people around you better. The ones who last in the league more than two or three years.

are the ones who are able to lead. And usually it doesn’t just pop up in the NFL. It’s something that you show glimpses of in college. You know, you show the ability to do in high school. Most guys who are in the NFL, they had to be leaders in the high school because they’re so uber talented that in the high school level, they stood out. So everyone looked to them. And that was my role when I was in high school. Like I was the leading tackler on defense. I had the leading rusher on offense and you know, in college as well, you know, all American, all ACC.

Uh, but then the NFL, you’re, you’re tested because everyone’s good. Everyone has talent. Everyone’s big, fast and strong. And the leadership qualities that you learn in the NFL, they, they were fine to, to a special point because you have to understand when to lead and when to be a role player, you know, you can’t have a whole bunch of, uh, chiefs and no Indians. And.

Ovie Mughelli (06:29.346)
It’s something that again, not a lot of players, a lot of NFL teams are able to deal with that. You see chaos sometimes because you get big strong personalities because you’ve always been the greatest. You’ve always been the best. You’ve always been the talker. You’ve always made the halftime of speech, but now sometimes you have to learn how to serve, how to play a role, how to assist. And my job, uh, for those who understand football being a fullback, I’m like the ultimate blue collar role player. And even though I was.

Martin Rowinski (06:37.166)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (06:58.31)
the best at that fullback position. I was a two time All Pro fullback and went to the Pro Bowl in 2011 as the NFC representative. Other positions, the YBC, where you get three YBC, you go to the Pro Bowl quarterback, get three quarterbacks. Fullback you get one, you get one guy. And so I had to be like unequivocally the best in the NFC conference to go to Hawaii and represent us to the Pro Bowl. And I was, but I think

That year especially, I understood that even though I was a role player, I can lead from behind. And I can lead as a role player to be able to assist Michael Turner and Matt Ryan and Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez and all these guys who are usually the front of the magazine and they get the interviews first, I can help these guys be at their best. So I had some pretty amazing leadership lessons through my NFL career.

Martin Rowinski (07:54.702)
That’s awesome. I love it. And it is. I mean, it’s a team sport. I’m a the other football, soccer player, as we say in US, you know, grew up in Europe. And that’s a I mean, that’s a sport that’s just like that. It’s not, you know, yeah, you can have a great player, but without support without the team, no great player is going to win everything. So it’s a team sport. And I think you do pick up a lot of leadership. And obviously, you did. And you made that transition.

Ovie Mughelli (07:59.549)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (08:05.339)
Yep.

Martin Rowinski (08:24.462)
uh quite a shift into healthcare and uh i know you’re involved in quite a lot in healthcare but what inspired what ignited that shift for you

Ovie Mughelli (08:37.178)
Really, my mom and my dad, I mean, they inspired a lot of who I am today. But my father is a lifetime healthcare advocate. Uh, and it’s just one of the coolest people has one of the coolest job. I spoke to him, uh, last night and we were just talking to his father and son. And he, you know, he.

He’s making fun of me now because I was coming to him with some of the things that I used to do with his grandkids, my kids. And I’m like, you know, Obasi, my son, like I just can’t get him to focus. He’s like, huh, interesting that is an issue of yours because when you were a child, focusing was not your strong point. I was like, okay, that’s too shy. But my dad is an OBGYN. He’s, I think he’s the best in the world, but he is.

Martin Rowinski (09:18.286)
I’m gonna go to bed.

Ovie Mughelli (09:24.47)
one of the best in the country and, you know, very decorated in South Carolina, because I think he told me that he’s around like 12,500 and like 32 babies he’s delivered in 45 years practicing. And he’s good at what he does, but he works at it. And he is just, I don’t say perfectionist, but he’s always trying to improve himself.

Martin Rowinski (09:36.846)
Cheers.

Ovie Mughelli (09:49.018)
And he’s always trying to, you know, find ways to become better because lives are on the line. He’s bringing lives into the world. He’s trying to preserve the lives that those lives are coming from. And he always talks about, he’s like, I can’t have a bad day. I can’t, it’s just like, not like, oh, everyone else. Oh, you’re a mechanic, I had a bad day, you know. You know, I didn’t fix the car as well as I want to. Or, you know, I had a bad day, you know, I’m doing, you know, what we do in the media space. Or, you know, but doctors, especially doctors like him, you can’t have bad days.

Martin Rowinski (09:58.414)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (10:18.594)
So the way my dad worked in the healthcare space, the passion, and he talked about it, and he made a lot of money. We were blessed and grew up in suburbs, upper middle class with my father, and he was motivated, but seeing him with all of his prestige and with all of his status being a

Martin Rowinski (10:18.798)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (10:42.982)
solely concerned, primarily concerned with the good he was doing, the, I guess the purpose that he felt that God gave him to bring lives in this world safely, and to be able to just guide these young mothers and or these, you know, these mothers into understanding the gift that they’re given and understand the responsibility that they now have. And so he didn’t just

bring babies to the world, he was a GYN, so he dealt with women and all their issues and health and everything else. And it was just cool coming back from football practice and going to my dad’s office. I’m filing papers, I’m cleaning the floor, I’m cleaning the toilets, I’m answering phones. And watching my dad and my mom do their thing, I was just like, this is what I wanna do. I want to help people with, I feel like, the most important thing in their life is, which is their health.

Martin Rowinski (11:21.358)
Ha ha ha!

Ovie Mughelli (11:36.25)
You know, health is wealth and, you know, now that I’ve been able to do well and, you know, make seven figures and, you know, live out, you know, some of my dreams. Um, I, I see people who are also wealthy.

and don’t have the health that would give all their money in a heartbeat to just have the ability to walk or to run or to breathe or to have their mind work the way it’s supposed to. So I was just like, you know what? After my NFL career, I can’t be a doctor because I’m not going to med school. My sister and my dad have that. But what I want to do is I want to help doctors. I want to find ways to bring solutions, find ways to not just help doctors, but find ways to use healthcare as, you know,

Martin Rowinski (12:11.246)
haha

Ovie Mughelli (12:22.906)
an avenue to allow people to reach their goals, to achieve their best self, to really go after their dreams because when you have that health, the sky’s the limit. So my dad, it’s a huge influence on me to try and get in the healthcare space and more importantly, make a difference in the healthcare space.

Martin Rowinski (12:40.686)
That’s awesome. I and you know, kudos to your dad. He delivering babies, not every delivery is a smooth sail, push and you’re done. I mean, like you said, you got to two lives there. And sometimes they’re complicated. So that that can be a stressful job. And sounds like he’s done a incredible job at it. So that’s awesome. Kudos and he raised a great son. So even better.

Ovie Mughelli (13:08.253)
Thank you.

Martin Rowinski (13:09.326)
So obviously in professional sports, you guys discipline is, I mean, you have to have it or else you’re not going to be successful. You obviously were successful. How do you think that can be applied towards personal health or towards being in the health care industry and being a leader in it like you are? Have you seen that? Do you feel like that has helped you out?

Ovie Mughelli (13:37.822)
Uh, a thousand percent, uh, discipline. I mean, there’s just the weight loss. I talked about the beginning of the, uh, beginning of the, uh, the podcast. I did not have success because my Y wasn’t strong enough that the, this, the discipline that I needed in order to achieve this, like I just did not, I wasn’t able to, to capture, you know, my Y and disciplines a lot easier when you’re

you have something pushing you when you have a goal you’re going after and you have, you know, purpose behind that goal. And it’s unfortunate that it took some, uh, some teammates pointing, you know, things out to me, but, um, discipline got me here. Discipline got me to find success after football. Uh, discipline got me to be able to be respected in the healthcare space among my, amongst my peers, because initially

I got looked at sideways as like, why would I listen to this NFL guy about healthcare? Uh, the, any of these solutions that you’re bringing me, any of these products that you’re talking about, any of these, you know, devices that you want to sell me, why would I listen to you? Like, you know, about catching footballs and scoring touchdowns and, you know, most players are big meatheads and

It burned my britches. It just, ooh, it angered me that people put me in a box and didn’t give me the respect. I thought I was due, but at the same, you know, at the same vein.

They had a point. I had to prove myself. I had to show them what I could do. It took a while for me to deliver on the promises I made because all people who work in sales make a lot of promises. Very few people actually deliver on them. So my biggest thing as I was growing up or as I was transitioning out of NFL and getting to the healthcare space was deliver. I deliver. You know, if I say something, I mean it. And after…

Ovie Mughelli (15:38.706)
having time after time after time where I deliver and having the discipline to make that one of my, you know, strategic differences, doctors will say, hey, you should talk to Ovi if you really want to find success. You should talk to Ovi if you really wanna grow your practice. You should really talk to Ovi if you wanna, you know, be able to, you know, make a little more money. I didn’t take that lightly because you can lose that,

confidence, respect, trust like that, but it takes a long time to gain it. And you know, you know that, and then anyone who’s a professional understands that, but the discipline that it takes just to sometimes do the boring things, the day in, the day out, boring things that will make sure you present yourself as you want to, you know, that’s something that I learned from football, the workouts, the film studies, the fundamentals that we forget about, it’s always a…

Martin Rowinski (16:14.638)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (16:37.858)
interesting or funny when, you know, at the highest level NFL, like we’re the best of the best, like we’re, you know, the, the gladiators that these young college and high school kids look to. Sometimes we got to go back to the building basic blocks, like just the, the get off, you know, down to Hutton and the get off and hand placement and just, you know, how to, um, you run plays and catching the ball before you turn and run, because how many times the NFL.

You see guys who the balls there, someone’s about to hit them and they’re turning their head and they’re moving before the balls got their hands yet. Like the simple basic fundamentals. And if you can get good at that in the NFL and understand how to translate those same, uh, you know, lessons, characteristics, um, tools, you can be successful in almost anything, but again, that’s the hardest part guys don’t know how to transition those.

Martin Rowinski (17:13.294)
Yep.

Ovie Mughelli (17:34.15)
those lessons they learned and I was blessed where, again, it wasn’t automatic. I had to feel my way around, but I’ve been able for the most part, use discipline that was learned on the football field to help me succeed in the healthcare space and in a lot of other work that I do.

Martin Rowinski (17:50.446)
Absolutely. And in business, just like in sports teamwork, and we were talking about teamwork earlier is important. And collaboration is important. And sounds like you been able to collaborate and work that out and being referred to now. Like you said, earn your earn your respect. So wasn’t easy, but it does take time and patience. So

And I know on top of everything, I know you speak a lot on stages. I mean, we met at a conference originally and you’ve spoken about resilience both in sports and live. How can individuals cultivate resilience in facing health challenges?

Ovie Mughelli (18:39.522)
Oh, that’s a good one. Um, I think that really just goes to understanding how you feel as bad as that may be understanding how you feel at some of your worst moments and just making a pack yourself that

you’re not going to feel this way ever again. It’s just, I can go back to, because it’s, it’s fresh in my mind, my weight loss journey. Um, I understood exactly how I felt when I was sitting there.

at the Ravens Stadium, I just, they called the whole, you know, former Ravens alumni on the field and, you know, Lamar Jackson, you know, slapped my hand going down, we were down in the field next to cheerleaders and, you know, they had on the big screen, everyone was cheering us and they were kind of going through and everyone’s waving their hand. And, you know, when it was my turn and I saw myself, my big self on the big jumbotron, I’m like, this doesn’t feel good. I was like, that’s, I don’t know who that is. I was like, but you know what?

Martin Rowinski (19:37.006)
Ha ha!

Ovie Mughelli (19:40.022)
I want to come back from that and I want to find ways to, uh, you know, get into a healthy space. And I just, every time I wanted to eat that pizza, I want to get that burger. Didn’t want to go workout. I remembered, you know, where I was and where I wanted to be and the resiliency that I found in that, it’s the same one again. I, you don’t have to be the NFL, but there are situations in your life that you can lean on that you can

Um, kind of think back on and say, you know what? I can do this. I’ve overcome small things, big things, medium things. We forget who we are. We forget how resilient the human mind is, the human body is, but we’ve all done, especially if we’ve lived long enough, we’ve all done some amazing things to be at our best, uh, in life. And so with me, I have a whole bunch of, uh, football stories where it’s just, I’m trying to.

Martin Rowinski (20:16.974)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (20:38.846)
Um, play football, but the national football league is a tough one. It’s a tough, uh, my dog is trying to, Hey Asher, yeah, you need to let daddy do his podcast. All right. It’s a goal. Say hi, Asher.

Martin Rowinski (20:45.998)
Oh, it’s all good. Oh.

Is that a golden doodle or labrador? I I have a golden doodle too. How funny.

Ovie Mughelli (20:56.81)
All right. All right. Now go to Obasi. Obasi, take Asher upstairs. Days on the podcast. Sorry, kids life. There’s no locked door in my non existent studio. But um, no, I got injured my second year, tore my hamstring off the bone had big puddle of like purple ish looking blood in my hamstring. And I didn’t know if I was gonna be able to rehab enough to where my end of a career lasts more than a year and a half.

Martin Rowinski (21:03.15)
That’s okay. Dogs.

Ovie Mughelli (21:26.042)
And I had like a Rocky montage type of off season where I’m literally training. I’m doing acupuncture. I’m doing, you know, chiropractic work, yoga. And I’m just like, I’m not, if I’m going out, I’m going to go out. Given everything I got, because people dream to get to the level I’m on for me to be right here for me, for the.

goals that I’ve had for a decade plus to be right within my grasp and me not work as hard as I’ve ever worked before, harder than I’ve ever worked before, that’s doing me disservice, that’s doing my dad disservice, that’s doing my family disservice, that’s doing everyone who’s believed in me a disservice because like if you’re not going to go all out for an opportunity like this then what are you doing? And doing that you know in NFL you know

coming back from, you know, deficits where we’re losing games and, you know, just being able to find ways to continue overcoming, you’re training your brain, you’re training your, your brain, uh, training your heart, training your soul to, uh, just strengthen your resolve and know that I can get through anything, you know, I can get past anything, but it’s just knowing before that challenge even comes up that you have that ability.

That’s what’s important. So he can automatically turn on, you know, just like, like I know because of my training that when a linebacker blitzes and I’m about to hit them, that I can take them, there’s no doubt, there’s no fear. There’s like my body’s trained and I know what my body can do. If your mind is trained and you know what your mind can do when you get setbacks, when you like for healthcare sales, where I don’t close a deal or, you know, we lose a huge client or, you know, things don’t go our way.

I know how I can respond because my mind’s already trained to where it’s all good, we can get over that. So yeah, I’d say, you know, resiliency in healthcare, resiliency in life, it’s huge. And I love to talk to, you know, corporate communities and, you know, a lot of, you know, business groups because I think setbacks is part of success. There’s no, as you know, there’s no CEO, there’s no corporate person who’s been able to

Ovie Mughelli (23:42.166)
truly be successful without a numerous round setback. So I just talk about that from the football perspective.

Martin Rowinski (23:48.526)
Yeah, no, 100% setbacks are what makes people successful. I look at all my setbacks and challenges and they’re all stepping stones to success. So 100% agreed. As a speaker in healthcare, what are the key messages you aim to convey about maximizing healthcare benefits and wellness?

Ovie Mughelli (24:12.482)
Well, I really talk about, you know, when you want to discuss maximizing healthcare benefits and wellness, having the right partners and having the right collaborators, because it’s very hard to be the best at everything. It’s darn near impossible. It’s like, you know, if the quarterback could also play my job fullback, who also play offensive lineman, who also play defense, that’s impossible. You know, even like players like prime time,

There are very few prime Thomas in the world, Deion Sanders that can be a defensive quarterback and go be a wide receiver. Like that’s rare. And maybe, again, two, three, pump returner, two, that he was. But you’re not gonna find a lot of guys, if any, that can be elite at two different things. So if you really wanna succeed in the healthcare space, it’s about finding someone who’s great with the billing, the rep and cycle management, finding somebody who’s great when it comes to

the clinical portion and diagnosing some of these issues, find somebody who’s great on the operations side and has the ability to bring it all the pieces together and deal with the administrative ebb and flow of hiring the right people, firing the right people, knowing how to put people in positions to win. That’s where, and I’ve been blessed to work with some hospital systems, I’ve been blessed to work with some large corporate organizations. One of the programs I’m really excited about, we have the ability to

bring in a section 125, fully insured indemnity plan. It’s just a fancy word to say, it’s like a health management program that can give the employer the ability to incentivize their patients, their employees to be proactive on their health. Because our people are our biggest asset. And you want your people to know that, you know, we’re doing all we can to keep you healthy. But the great part of the program is that

because it’s a government program, we can do it at no net costs. So the employees get to get pay raises, extra benefits, while the employer gets tax savings for even getting involved in the program. We just closed a couple of large 4,000 to 500 companies and it’s really exciting because most companies, they lose employees because someone’s offering better pay and better benefits elsewhere. So when we’re able to offer them a program that gives them better pay and better benefits, they love it. But…

Martin Rowinski (26:12.878)
Incredible.

Ovie Mughelli (26:36.506)
You know, the program involves bringing different pieces of their organization together and have them working together. And that’s kind of what I do. I make sure everyone knows what their job is, what their, their role is, and we all just do it. So things like that, that I can offer businesses and, uh, unique, uh, ways I can really add value. That’s what helps me sleep at night. That’s what helps me get up in the morning. That’s what, you know, makes me drive, you know, two, three hours to reach different parts of Georgia.

so I can have these conversations face to face.

Martin Rowinski (27:07.886)
Your mission and vision match up with what you do. So why would you not love it? That’s awesome. How do you see the role of athletes and public figures in shaping public health policy and awareness?

Ovie Mughelli (27:12.516)
Absolutely.

Ovie Mughelli (27:22.514)
I think it’s huge. I mean, athletes, by our nature, whether right or wrong, we have a superpower. And that’s where people want to watch us. People want to hear what we have to say. Sometimes we don’t always have the right things to say, but people do want to hear what we have to say. Because we’re larger than life. We’re displayed on

millions of TVs across the country because we can do things that only 1% of the people in the world can do with some of our athletic, you know, abilities and prowess and whatnot. So athletes can do a lot of good and unfortunately can do some, uh, not so good if they’re not setting the right example. And everyone talks about, you know, the infamous Charles Barkley. I’m not a role model, but I think anyone who understands that

You may not want to be a role model, but you are whether you want to or not. The people are looking up to you. People are following you. People are going to want to do the things you do, how you do them. So why not take advantage of that in the positive sense? So for me, like one of the things that I was really passionate about, and I’ve been a leader on is work in the environmental sustainability space. My kids were born premature. Their lungs were underdeveloped.

They were in the NICU already for a month, month and a half, and they couldn’t leave the NICU because the air quality Atlanta was so bad. And as at the time I was just named the highest paid fullback NFL history, signed a contract for $18 million. I’m in my mid twenties and, you know, or late twenties, and I’m on top of the world because, you know, just got married and multimillionaire. And I’m like, you know, in magazines and everything, all that stuff didn’t matter at all because my babies,

were dealing with something that I didn’t know about, didn’t care about. I thought the environment was a rich problem or a white problem or someone else’s problem, not my problem, you know? And it turned out that it was definitely my problem, you know, air quality and the smog alerts. And so I wanted to learn more about that. And as I did that, as I kind of, uh, poked Arthur blank to like, give me some resources, he billionaire Arthur blank got me with billionaire Ted Turner, who got me with his daughter, Lauren Turner, Seidel, and

Martin Rowinski (29:17.262)
Ha ha ha ha.

Martin Rowinski (29:23.342)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (29:38.022)
the Captain Planet Foundation and they took me under their wing. And I, I’m a sponge, you know, I don’t know if it’s, cause my parents are academic. I just want to learn as much as I can. And so, you know, Laura took me to all the different, uh, galas and gatherings and soirees. And most of the time, like, I was the only person of color there. Um, but you know, I was very honored to be there. But as I realized, you know, when we were talking like, how do you solve this problem? I’m like, well, we should probably, you know, employ,

more diverse people to help solve this problem. I think why are there not many people of color in the environmental space? She’s like, well, we’re working on that. Like it’s something that we’re trying to fix and several leaders in the environment space had a chance to talk to Al Gore and had a chance to talk to a lot of great people, leaders in the space. And they’re like, it’s just been an issue. I was like, well, why don’t we use sports? Like, well, we don’t have any NFL players that are currently taking up the environmental cause. I’m like, well,

Martin Rowinski (30:34.478)
You’re like, right here.

Ovie Mughelli (30:37.062)
I’d be happy to do it. And so, you know, with the passion, with the knowledge, and with the, you know, the platform, as you mentioned earlier, being a professional athlete, to connect with people, I just went off. We created that Recycle on the Run, physical activity obstacle course with environmental brain teasers to teach kids how to recycle. If you recycle while you run, you can recycle while you walk. We came with the Green Speaker Series where we taught kids about green jobs and mostly, you know, kids in underprivileged areas.

schools that never had environmental entrepreneurs talk to them on career day. We had a green tailgate where we taught sports fans how to tailgate in environmentally responsible way as well. And finally, we had our piece de resistance. We had a comic book called Gridiron Green. And I grew up on Captain Planet. You know, the black character Kwame was, bless you, the black character Kwame was African.

Martin Rowinski (31:30.062)
Thank you.

Ovie Mughelli (31:33.154)
And I’m African, I’m full blooded Nigerian. And so I just loved Kwame in the cartoon. And, you know, in the comic book, I could see myself through him. There were not, you know, many, or if any, environmental black superheroes that I knew of. So I was like, I was gonna create one called Gridiron Green. And I went to Comic-Con, New York, Comic-Con San Diego. UNICEF was a partner on it.

You know, we had a chance to sell, you know, thousands of comics. And it was just really cool that we were able to start conversations with young kids, especially young kids of color, who like more than, you know, a couple said, I’ve never seen a black environmental superhero. I was like, and that’s why I created it. So as an athlete, the fact that, you know, I was a leader in that space, it just shows that, you know, athletes can be leaders in so many different spaces because of.

the gift of catching a little football, running pretty fast, and doing some stuff that, it’s cool, but it’s still just some stuff we’re doing. The real impact we’re able to make is when we take those talents and use that to create transformational change in our post-careers. Or you can do it while you’re playing, but we’re not playing a lot longer than we are playing. So when you’re able to take the

platform that you know that God’s given you and you’re able to use that for good you know that that’s what it’s all about

Martin Rowinski (33:05.23)
That’s awesome. Yeah, I’m glad you brought up the comic book because if you didn’t, I was about to ask about it. So because I remember you shared that with me. So pretty awesome. What advice would you give to individuals looking to make a positive impact on their health and the health of their community? Did I already ask that?

Ovie Mughelli (33:15.613)
Thank you.

Ovie Mughelli (33:28.062)
I’m not sure in that way, but the advice I give an individual, they want to make a positive impact on their health and the community is really, well, when it comes to their health, I’d say, you have to understand why you’re trying to be healthy. Because there are so many people who aren’t healthy, but it’s not like they want to be unhealthy. I think no one says, you know, what? I don’t want to be healthy. I don’t want to be. It’s sometimes

Martin Rowinski (33:53.806)
Hahaha

Ovie Mughelli (33:57.75)
lack of access to clean healthy food. Sometimes it’s, you know, financially, as we all know, with these food deserts and something we talk about with our foundation, you know, cheap unhealthy food is more accessible and it’s easier to come by than healthy food. And that’s something that we got to fix. Those of us who, who have the power, those of us who are in, you know, these meeting rooms, these board rooms.

Martin Rowinski (34:14.158)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (34:25.018)
We got to fix that. Those of us who are in government and politics, which is crazy, we have to fix that. So you can only control what you can control, but I feel like we have a lot to do to make being healthier easier. But if you do have choices, make the right choice. You know, we’re all big boys and big girls. And we know that we keep on stuffing our face with burgers and French fries and fry this and fry that.

consistently. Now again, it’s okay to, you know, everything in moderation, but when you have the choices and you’re, yeah, and you’re just choosing the wrong choice every time, you have to know that you’re going to not only put yourself in a place to where you’re, uh, you know, not happy with how you look aesthetically, but health wise, you know, cardiac disease, you know, killing so many people, especially people of color. Um, and just the fact that life is hard.

Martin Rowinski (34:58.542)
Cheat days.

Martin Rowinski (35:13.55)
Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (35:23.53)
Why make it hard on yourself by, you know, not being healthy and, you know, not being able to do the things that are necessary to, to live the life you want to live. And then when it comes to others, you lead by example. My parents were, were very intentional about, you know, also my dad’s a doctor, but just encouraging us to go out, ride bikes and to go hiking and to be, be active. And, you know, uh, I was forced to be active by my football career, but still it’s just,

understanding why it’s important to be healthy and understanding the ramifications. If you don’t that, that’s a great way to kind of help adults, kids, everyone to make that effort. So I think education on the reasons to be healthy, that’s the advice that I would give people who want to be healthy and want others around them to just make sure people understand, you know, why you’re doing it and how, based on your decision, you can get two very different outcomes.

Martin Rowinski (36:19.854)
Absolutely. And you’re right. It’s not just about looking good because the feeling good is what I enjoy the most about being healthy and eating right and man, if anybody ever asks me like what’s one thing you would change if you would go back in time is I Would eat a lot healthier and less burgers That would be the only change

Ovie Mughelli (36:25.627)
Yes.

Ovie Mughelli (36:39.655)
Yeah, you made up for it. You look pretty healthy, Martin. So I mean, you had your fun in your 20s and 30s, you know, and your 40s. I’m sure you’re young. I don’t know how old you are, but 41 42. 52. Congratulations, dude. So I mean, you had your fun and you were able to survive. So you survived all those crazy days. So I think you did okay for yourself.

Martin Rowinski (36:43.502)
I know. Thank you.

Martin Rowinski (36:51.054)
52

52. Thank you.

haha

Martin Rowinski (37:04.494)
Thank you. Yeah, I’m lucky to be here. I’m blessed and I love it. And I love doing what I do and love doing this podcast now, so it’s great. So I got some fun questions and then we’ll wrap it up. If you could play an NFL game right now and you had a choice of picking three team players, kind of like in school, we used to go and line up and pick, who would your first three picks be?

Ovie Mughelli (37:28.956)
oooo

Yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (37:35.218)
Well, in their prime, you know, I was. Yes, in their prime. Um, so one, I would pick, um, Walter Payton because I was a Walter Payton man of the year. Very honored to receive that award, but I chose 34 when I got to NFL because I love Walter Payton. I mean, Barry Sanders is great. Emmitt Smith is great, but you know, I’m just a sweetness fan. I would pick Walter Payton, prime Walter Payton. Uh, I would then pick.

Martin Rowinski (37:36.814)
Yes, in their prime in their prime. Yes hundred percent

Ovie Mughelli (38:03.074)
You know, my, my two way teammate, Deion Sanders, like it’s still, it’s crazy to me that, you know, I had Deion’s cell phone and like he would answer when I would call he, he came to my mother’s birthday party and surprised her. Cause I asked her, Hey, you know, we’re having dinner at the restaurant down from the practice facility. I know, um, you’re very busy, but if you can’t come by and he’s like, I’ll see what I can do.

Martin Rowinski (38:13.646)
Hehehe

Ovie Mughelli (38:25.774)
And then like maybe 30 minutes into our dinner, like this guy comes, these two big bodyguards, he had this big old hoodie on. I was like, is that Pram? That hoodie is huge. Then he looks at me, hey, what’s up, Mr. Mahaly? Happy birthday, goes, happy birthday. Like Dion sang to my mom. Like, I mean, that is just crazy. So not only is he amazing athlete and generational talent, but he’s an amazing human being. So I would pick Walter Payton, Dion Sanders.

Martin Rowinski (38:40.558)
Oh my god.

Ovie Mughelli (38:53.97)
And the next guy that I would have on my team, oh man, this is a tough one. There are so many amazing people that I’ve played with, some that I haven’t played with, that I’ve wanted to. I have a lot of respect for Tom Brady. I think he’s definitely a goat. I played against him, he’s wonderful. But…

Martin Rowinski (39:00.846)
Mm-hmm.

Ovie Mughelli (39:16.826)
He’s so good. He knows he’s so good. He’s got a little bit of a jerk to him. Unless you’re a Patriots fan, you love that jerky edge that he has. But, uh, but now I had, um, the, the ability to play with the late great Steve McNair and in Baltimore, uh, before Steve passed, he was a big reason why. I had my first all pro season in Baltimore that allowed me to get that, you know, that big contract to Atlanta. And Steve was great about just.

teaching me details, the devil’s in the details. And he would stop after almost every other play and practice like, Ovi, when you run your route to do like this, Ovi, we would act. He taught me about watching film and just for whatever reason he took an interest in me, liking to me. But my first touchdown was again from Steve McNair. And I thought they great person, great quarterback. I would choose Steve McNair.

Deion Sanders and Walter Payton as my three players. I’m picking, and we’re going to go win every game we play.

Martin Rowinski (40:18.126)
That’s awesome. Good players to pick. That’s funny. Did you see that Tom Brady Superball commercial with where he was a DJ or whatever the Dunkin Donut?

Ovie Mughelli (40:20.613)
Oh yeah.

Ovie Mughelli (40:27.842)
No, I gotta go back and watch the Super Bowl commercials. I was doing, I was at Harris Casino in North Carolina. I was doing an appearance in autograph signing. I was like, yeah, they’re paying me for this, but why is there no TV in the autograph signing area? I was like, what is going on here? It was so frustrating. It was me and like seven other guys. And so I missed like half the commercials. I missed half the game. We’re watching on our phones. Like, this is like, thank you Harris Casino. But like, what type of appearance?

Martin Rowinski (40:39.566)
Oh my gosh.

Ovie Mughelli (40:56.238)
at the Super Bowl doesn’t have a Super Bowl showing. So I missed the commercials, but I heard it was good.

Martin Rowinski (40:58.446)
That’s crazy.

Yeah, it’s pretty funny. There’s a bunch of little follow ups. Just look up Duncan Kings or donut, donut, Dunkin Donuts, whatever it’s called. It’s pretty funny. Outside of football and healthcare, if you could master any completely unrelated skill overnight or a hobby, what would it be and why?

Ovie Mughelli (41:10.226)
Gotcha.

Ovie Mughelli (41:18.696)
Boom.

Ovie Mughelli (41:21.99)
Oh man, that’s a great one. It’s out of football and healthcare. If I could master a skill, what would it be and why? Well, it would be, I mean, it’d go back into sports because this is a sport that I loved and I just could never play at the highest level.

I think baseball players who can hit a fastball are the most impressive human beings in the entire world. Like I have great memories of playing little league and being a slugger. The feel of holding that bat and it vibrate, we hit that ball and see that ball just fly through. You feel so powerful. And if I can be like, you know, a big league slugger at the world series.

hitting dingers, home runs. That’s a skill that very people have at the highest level. And I would give anything to have that skill because I never played a Super Bowl. And, you know, but being in the world series and a game seven and being up and, you know, two strikes and three balls and bases loaded and then hitting that home run. Oh my God, you can just, you know, I can die go to heaven off of that.

Martin Rowinski (42:28.782)
Oof.

Martin Rowinski (42:32.398)
haha

Ovie Mughelli (42:34.33)
I would think it’s just the most amazing feeling because I respect baseball players so much. And I was on a show with Sports Illustrated for a while where they had Antoine Walker for basketball. They had Denny Gray’s for the Cardinals baseball. They had Brett Sople, Chicago Blackhawks. They had me. It was like kind of like the best damn sports show, reboot type of thing that Si was trying to do. We filmed in Chicago and we would all sit in the green room and we would just talk like, you know, talk trash.

about like who’s sport is the hardest. And after talking, you know, some very, you know, spiritual debates, we all figured out that baseball. Baseball, hitting that fast ball, or the ball that moves around, it’s gotta be the hardest sport out there, the hardest skill. So I would love to have that skill.

Martin Rowinski (43:23.31)
That would be awesome. Yeah. I, for me, it would be hitting a golf ball straight every time. Cause I love that feeling when it goes straight.

Ovie Mughelli (43:30.518)
Yes, that too. You know what? So right after baseball, I would go with you golf because I live on a golf course. I don’t have a membership because I don’t I don’t like golfing. I kind of don’t like golf because I’m not good at it. Like I’ll go for like all the yucks and the jokes and I’m not terrible about when this guy’s gonna hold up the line because I keep on missing the ball. It’s just that when I hit it, like you mentioned, it doesn’t go straight. It doesn’t go as far as I wanted to. And I’m like

Martin Rowinski (43:36.782)
Ha ha!

Ovie Mughelli (43:59.518)
how is this little itty bitty twig crushing the ball and I’m with all my muscles, I’m sitting here and winding up and then I’m just like, tink, that’s it, that’s it. So I would love to be a great golfer.

Martin Rowinski (44:11.054)
Hehehe

Martin Rowinski (44:15.214)
And that’s the problem is we try to use our muscles and they just using bodywork and it’s hard to turn that on. I mean, I struggle with it all the time. So yeah, tough sport. So any any last message, whatever you want to say, plug anything you want to plug away at.

Ovie Mughelli (44:22.387)
Oh, very hard.

Ovie Mughelli (44:35.334)
Um, yeah. So again, um, my foundation’s website is omfgreen.org. Over Um, you know, we have our second comic book coming out. If there’s, uh, anyone who’s interested in trying to connect with next generation and find ways to really, uh, educate and inspire these young people. Uh, we would love to work with you.

And also, you know, with some of the work we do with health management programs for businesses, we have the ability to do some really amazing things for corporations who are really diehard about their people and want to offer the best benefits and even a way to offer more take home revenue to their employees while also bringing $700 of tax savings to their to their company.

Martin Rowinski (45:04.75)
Yes.

Ovie Mughelli (45:27.93)
We just say, and I won’t name the names, but we have some large hotel chains, some large big box stores, manufacturing, engineering, healthcare people taking advantage of this. And all we need is a conversation. So I’m easy to reach, I think on my website. Or you know what? Here’s, I don’t know if I get my website. Martin will get my information to you, but yeah, there we go. I love to find a way to have conversations to help.

Martin Rowinski (45:52.014)
I’ll put it in, yep. I’ll put it in the description. Absolutely. Awesome. Thank you so much for coming on the show. It was a lot of fun. Good to learn about the things you’re doing and stick to it. Keep going. Resilience. And you’re looking good. Damn, you look good.

Ovie Mughelli (46:12.506)
Resilience, buddy, you gotta do it. Hey, I’m feeling good. And this is just the beginning, man. I told my wife, I was like, hey, I’m gonna get down, but then I’m gonna get cut up because I’m lean, but I ain’t built yet. My beach body’s not quite there. It’s getting there. But we’ll see. Got a little bit more to go.

Martin Rowinski (46:32.334)
That’s awesome. Well, hopefully we’ll see you on the beach somewhere in Hawaii or Bahamas or wherever you want to meet up. We’ll be there. Awesome. Sounds good. We’ll see you next time. Thank you.

Ovie Mughelli (46:40.078)
Everywhere.

Ovie Mughelli (46:45.146)
Alright, thanks Martin. Appreciate it.

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