February 26, 2024

Ex-Kansas City Chiefs player helps veterans, first responders overcome mental health struggles


Former Kansas City Chief’s player Kendall Gammon overcame a harrowing battle with suicidal ideas after enduring years of mental and bodily abuse from his mother. 

He recollects the very second he sat on his mattress with a gun in his hand when he was solely 16 years outdated.

While it might be tough to recount, he attracts on that have in addition to the numerous pressures he confronted throughout his 15-year stint within the NFL as a protracted snapper to assist veterans and first responders overcome mental health challenges via his work with War Horses for Veterans. 

His work with the Kansas City-based nonprofit has develop into probably the most rewarding challenges in his life, Gammon informed FOX Business. 

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War Horses for Veterans

War Horses for Veterans, which was based by a former solider, is devoted to serving to first responders, veterans and energetic navy personnel overcome life-disrupting trauma related to their work and transition into civilian life via horse-related actions. 

The year-round program helps people address situations, together with completely different ranges of melancholy, nervousness and post-traumatic stress disorder to allow them to efficiently reintegrate into their households and communities. 

War Horses for Veterans

A particular forces senior chief is proven easy methods to place his ft within the stirrups by one of many mentors on the War Horses for Veterans program. (Jay Williams, Warhorses for Veterans)

Participants attend for 5 days and are given an abundance of horse-related duties, from understanding easy methods to lunge a horse round a spherical pin to using bareback. The duties assist these people put their belief in a 1,000-pound animal. In doing so, they’re able to face their fears and acquire confidence. 

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The group goals to create a neighborhood of “active duty military, combat veterans, first responders and others who support one another as each individual moves from trauma through recovery to a productive and sustainable life,” based on its web site. 

While Gammon wasn’t a service member, he’s dwelling proof of what it means to be resilient within the face of insurmountable obstacles.

War Horses for Veterans

An Israeli particular forces senior chief on a horse named Duel Chik at War Horses for Veterans.  (Jay Williams, Warhorses for Veterans)

“[I] let them see … the part of my life that a lot of people didn’t see, and, quite honestly, that I tried to hide for the longest time,” Gammon mentioned.

Navigating challenges, mental health 

That consists of the trauma from his childhood to the challenges he confronted on the sphere as a player and when he was transitioning into retirement

His official title is chief improvement officer, although he’s additionally thought-about one of many many like-minded coaches and mentors that War Horses for Veterans has to assist members navigate the challenges they face after service.

By speaking about his mental health struggles, it permits the members “to come out and talk about some things that maybe they wouldn’t talk about otherwise,” he added.

Kendall Gammon, Kansas City Chiefs

Kendall Gammon performed for the Kansas City Chiefs as a protracted snapper. (Steve Sanders/KC Chiefs photographer )

“Many times the biggest thing somebody needs to help heal is just to let it go and talk to somebody else about it,” Gammon mentioned. “That’s easier said than done for a lot of people. It was easier said than done for me.” 

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Still, he successfully created a secure house for veterans and first responders to confide in him about their very own struggles, a few of that are so unfathomable it is exhausting for Gammon to place into phrases. 

“We have a lot of parallels in terms of our mental health and how we deal with things,” Gammon mentioned. 

Leading with ‘laces out’

One of the most important instruments he makes use of to encourage others, whether or not that is on the farm or throughout his keynote speeches, is his mantra of “laces out.” 

Kendall Gammon

Kendall Gammon performed for the Kansas City Chiefs as a protracted snapper. (Steve Sanders/KC Chiefs photographer )

Gammon, who was a protracted snapper throughout his tenure with the Chiefs, recalled being one of many first gamers within the NFL to “really usher in the fact that you snap the ball with the laces out” each time. It prevents the ball from spinning or having somebody kick the laces. 

He makes use of this catchphrase to assist individuals from all walks of life try for achievement and facilitate success for others. It applies to the members in this system. 

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“I lead with the ‘laces out’ … whether it’s at the end of a text or an email,” Gammon mentioned. “It’s basically facilitating the success of others … by me snapping the ball with the laces out. It gives the kicker a better chance to score points, which gives the team a better chance to score points, which gives us a better chance to win.” 

War Horses for Veterans

Taylor Gillespie, a former military infantry officer sliding his horse round a steer in Perrin, Texas.  (Jay Williams, Warhorses for Veterans)

The level is, Gammon mentioned, that “we all have the ability to do something for somebody else, to snap a ball with the laces out.” 

“And as I always say, ‘If you treat people like they matter, well, then they do matter.’ And this world becomes just a little bit better place,” he added. 

It’s one thing he tries to instill in everybody he works with, corresponding to these at War Horses for Veterans. 

I’m trying to affect their mindset in a positive way to where they can help themselves long after I’m there … or there at the program at War Horses out at the ranch,” he mentioned.



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