SOUL COLE: From Gridiron Grind to Peace of Mind

Growing Up with Grit and Academia in Southern Maryland

In the heart of Southern Maryland, Brandon “SOUL COLE” Coleman cultivated a love for sports amid a family ethos heavily focused on educational excellence. “The standards for my household were a 3.0 GPA to compete in sports. It was always education first,” Coleman recalls. This early lesson in discipline propelled him from local sports fields to the sprawling campus of Rutgers University on a football scholarship, a pivotal moment that marked the beginning of an extraordinary journey.

The Collegiate Challenge: Achievements and Adversities

Despite the seemingly smooth transition and collegiate success, Coleman’s journey was riddled with challenges, particularly with his mental health—a struggle that wasn’t as openly discussed then as it is today. “I kept it bottled in, which wasn’t healthy,” he admits. Opting to bet on himself, Coleman left Rutgers early for the NFL, facing the daunting uncertainty of the draft.

Draft Dreams and NFL Realities

Undrafted due to an unforeseen injury, Brandon Coleman fought his way onto the New Orleans Saints’ practice squad, exemplifying the resilience that would define his life beyond football. Reaching the NFL was a dream realized, marked by intense highs and grueling lows. “Game day brought a rush—nervous energy, butterflies, especially during night games,” Coleman reflects. Yet, the sport’s physical toll was unyielding. In 2018, consecutive surgeries for severe neck and hip injuries tested his limits. This critical juncture forced him to confront the unsustainable demands of professional football, redirecting him toward a path of holistic health. Embracing mindfulness, yoga, and meditation, Coleman transformed his recovery into a journey of mental and spiritual rejuvenation, steering clear of pain medication and finding strength in vulnerability.

A Pandemic Pivot: Embracing Mindfulness and Meditation

The pandemic in 2020 further catalyzed Coleman’s introspection and transformation. As the world slowed down, his journey into mindfulness gained momentum, revealing passions beyond the gridiron that he hadn’t anticipated. “Quarantine accelerated my healing journey, allowing me to discover new gifts,” Coleman reflects. It was during this period of deep self-reflection and newfound purpose that Coleman fully embraced his identity as ‘SOUL COLE,’ a moniker that resonates with his mission to nurture soulful connections and holistic wellness.

The Birth of ‘SOUL COLE’

The evolution of Brandon Coleman into ‘SOUL COLE’ marks a significant rebranding that reflects his personal growth and new focus on wellness and spiritual depth. This identity emerged during a transformative period as he delved into mindfulness practices and sought a name that truly represented his journey and vision. “The name ‘SOUL COLE’ resonated with me on many levels. It encapsulated the essence of my experiences, highlighting the importance of staying true to one’s soul,” Coleman reflects. The inspiration for ‘SOUL COLE’ came through a series of signs and personal revelations. Biblical scriptures and meaningful coincidences, including a profound impact from the book “Soul of a Team” by Tony Dungy, reinforced his choice. These elements converged, guiding Coleman to a name that now symbolizes his mission to nurture the soul through mindfulness, community engagement, and advocacy. In adopting ‘SOUL COLE,’ he embraced an identity that transcends his athletic past, embodying his commitment to living and leading with purpose, unity, and love.

Advocacy and Education: Certifications and Speaking Engagements

Brandon “SOUL COLE” Coleman has seamlessly transitioned from an NFL athlete to a fervent mental health advocate and wellness facilitator, leveraging his experiences and platform to champion greater societal good. His commitment is showcased through his educational strides, earning certifications from renowned institutions like Georgetown and Brown University, equipping him to advocate for mindfulness and mental health, especially among men of color. “It’s about letting them know they are seen, they are heard,” Coleman states passionately. As a speaker at prominent venues like ASU GSV, he shares his journey and stresses the importance of mental wellness. “Each time I speak, it’s about resonating with at least one person, planting a seed of change,” he explains. Through his vulnerability and openness about his struggles, Coleman works to dismantle the stigma surrounding mental health in athletics and beyond, advocating for a culture where seeking help is recognized as a strength and mental health is given equal importance to physical health.

Inspiring Young Minds Through Creative Expression

In his journey to make a tangible impact on the mental and emotional well-being of children, Brandon “SOUL COLE” Coleman developed the “Mighty SOUL” affirmations coloring book. This project is more than just a coloring book; it is a tool designed to teach young minds about mindfulness, emotional regulation, and self-expression through art. “I wanted to create something that could serve as a fun, engaging way for kids to learn about themselves and how to manage their emotions,” Coleman says. The character ‘Mighty SOUL’ is a superhero who embodies resilience and emotional intelligence, providing children with a relatable figure who navigates challenges with strength and wisdom. Each page of the coloring book includes positive affirmations and scenarios that encourage children to think about their feelings and how to express them healthily. By integrating these lessons into a creative medium, Coleman aims to equip the next generation with the foundational skills needed for mental wellness from an early age, promoting a lifelong journey of self-discovery and personal growth.

Building a Legacy: Nonprofit Initiatives and Community Impact

Moreover, Coleman’s efforts extend beyond individual wellness to systemic change through his nonprofit, which aims to integrate mindfulness tools into the daily lives of marginalized youth. “It’s about ensuring these kids have access to resources that can genuinely transform their lives,” he explains.

As our conversation draws to a close, Coleman emphasizes the importance of legacy, one not confined to his achievements on the football field but magnified by the lives he touches through his advocacy and outreach. “It’s not just about what I did on the field—it’s about the impact I have off the field, helping others become better versions of themselves.”

Brandon “SOUL COLE” Coleman’s story is a testament to the transformative power of resilience and purpose. From the gridiron to the stage of global conferences, he has turned his personal trials into a universal message of strength and hope. His commitment to mental health advocacy and holistic wellness resonates as a call to action, urging us to prioritize our well-being and support each other in our journeys. As SOUL COLE continues to lead by example, his life’s work serves as a beacon, illuminating the path for others to find healing, embrace vulnerability, and ultimately, transform their pain into their greatest purpose. In championing this cause, Coleman not only redefines what it means to be a survivor but also what it means to be a true leader—inspiring a legacy of change that transcends the sports arena and touches the lives of all who hear his story.

You can follow SOUL COLE @b_cole16 and purchase his coloring book by clicking here. You can learn more about his nonprofit by visiting https://soulimpactfoundation.org/ and following @soulimpact_

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