For Marvin Foster, life after football means helping the elderly.
Marvin Foster is no stranger to injury. During his college football career, he tore a pectoral muscle, two anterior cruciate ligaments and a biceps tendon.
The latter, suffered Nov. 2, 2013, against Tennessee, stung the 300-pound defensive tackle a bit more than the others. It effectively ended his playing days at Mizzou.
“Things happen for a reason,” says Foster, who is now pursuing a master’s degree in health administration. “Those injuries allowed me to see my real reason for being here — to make something of myself off the football field.”
The “something” Foster works toward is a career as a nursing home director, an uncommon goal among gridiron alumni.
The seed was planted when, as a boy, he tagged along with his single mother to her appointments as an ultrasound technician in Fort Worth, Texas. Facility hopping and befriending the kind elderly residents showed Foster the upside of the industry.
His late grandfather Roosevelt Whittaker’s negative experience with assisted living provided the downside.
“He wanted to be independent, and he felt like people were dumping him off,” Foster says. “I knew [health care] was something I should be doing, helping change it so people will want to be part of assisted living.”
Foster is a natural-born leader, a fiery locker-room speaker and, by most accounts, the heart and soul of the 2013 Tigers. Mizzou offensive coordinator Josh Henson saw to it the injured athlete’s time was not wasted in Arlington, Texas, during the 2014 Cotton Bowl Classic. Henson arranged for Foster to spend a day shadowing the coach’s buddy Jay Johnson, president and CEO of Duncan (Okla.) Regional Hospital.
“You can pull all the statistics you want about hospital operations, but Jay taught me it’s all about culture,” Foster says. “We walked on every floor of that hospital, and he has meetings every day just like Coach [Gary] Pinkel does, going over the same game plan on Monday that you do on Friday.”