Archive for the ‘Health & Wellness’ Category

Early retirement: players call it quits in prime of careers

Sports Psychology in Associate Press – By JANIE McCAULEY – July 30, 2015 – SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Patrick Willis walked away first with a nagging toe injury that kept him from being the dominant All-Pro linebacker of his prime.

Then his heir apparent and San Francisco teammate Chris Borland followed with his own stunning retirement on the heels of his spectacular rookie season, citing concern about head trauma over a hard-hitting career.

Tennessee quarterback Jake Locker called it quits after four seasons. Next, ex-Pittsburgh pass-rushing specialist Jason Worilds bid farewell to football. And then yet another 49er joined the list of departures from the NFL while still young: Offensive lineman and 2010 first-round pick Anthony Davis also chose his health and future over more punishing knocks in the head after a concussion left him dazed for weeks late last year.

“You don’t want to see guys walk away, but at the end of the day everyone has their own problems and things they need to deal with, their own reasons,” San Francisco tight end Vernon Davis said. “We didn’t expect Patrick to retire.”

Around the league, players began taking the leap to that unknown life after football — at 30 or younger, no less.

“As many players that do consider perhaps the long-term risks and the cost benefits of a long-term career in a contact sport, you’re going to get that,” said sports psychologist Dr. John F. Murray, based in Palm Beach, Florida. “We’ve had more education and increased awareness from many avenues about the risks of concussions long term, the risks of the effects of that.”

In an offseason overshadowed by deflated footballs, Willis, Locker and the 27-year-old Worilds retired in a stunning 24-hour span starting March 10.

Five-time All-Pro Willis retired at age 30. Davis is 25 and Borland 24. Locker, then 26 — the NFL’s eighth overall pick in 2011 — never played a full season and appeared in only 30 games in all.

Willis left without a Super Bowl ring, coming so close following the 2012 season in a three-point loss to the Ravens.

“I always told myself that I wanted it to be on my terms,” Willis said in an emotional announcement at Levi’s Stadium last spring. “I wanted it to be in a way that was just amazing. … In my head, I’m already a Hall of Famer. I am leaving this with closure, saying that I am happy today, more happy today than I was the day I was drafted. That says something to me.”

San Francisco players expressed mixed emotions at the turnover, as fearsome defensive end Justin Smith also retired, though the 35-year-old had 14 years in the league.

Borland and Anthony Davis feared concussions and head injuries.

“When I started there wasn’t a whole lot of awareness on concussions,” 40-year-old 49ers placekicker Phil Dawson said. “Now, guys are informed. The doctors are on top of it. I think it’s a good deal.”

Willis, San Francisco’s defensive captain and locker room leader, explained his tender size-13 feet “12½ when they’re bent” could no longer handle the grind of NFL practices, let alone the demands of game day. He had surgery on his left big toe, went on season-ending injured reserve on Nov. 11 after getting hurt at St. Louis on Oct. 13.

“I have no regrets. I’ve had the most amazing eight years of football of my life,” he said.

Locker has returned to his roots in Washington state with his wife and two young children.

Davis, the outspoken offensive lineman, left open returning if his body fully heals. Davis had been considering leaving for a few years, announcing his plans in a statement.

“This will be a time for me to allow my brain and body a chance to heal. I know many won’t understand my decision, that’s OK,” Davis said. “I hope you, too, have the courage to live your life how you planned it when day dreaming to yourself growing up. Your life is your dream and you have the power to control that dream. I’m simply doing what’s best for my body as well as my mental health at this time in my life.”

For veterans who have stayed healthy, thoughts of retirement might be far from their minds.

“When you have those things going for you, why not keep playing?” 38-year-old Raiders safety Charles Woodson said. “Even though you’ve got guys retiring, there’s a bunch of guys that would still love to be playing. For all of those guys that I’ve played with that tell me every year, ‘Keep going,’ because they would love to have this opportunity.”

Murray says the NFL shouldn’t be overly concerned about a dwindling talent pool.

“There will always be a demand for multi-million-dollar salaries and the glory that goes with playing NFL football,” he said.

Still, constant change is part of the business.

“Every man in here has the right to decide how long he wants to play. It’s his career,” Dawson said. “Whether it’s retirements, or injuries or trades or cuts or whatever the case may be, for those of us who are still here you’ve just got to come to work and do the best you can.”

AP Pro Football Writer Teresa M. Walker and AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow contributed to this report. I hope you enjoyed this item from the world of sports psychology.

The Importance of Confidence in Sports, Business, and Life

Sport Psychologist, Dr. John F. Murray on Confidence.
PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 8 PRNewswire — When sport performance psychologist John F. Murray decided to auction the idea of “Confidence” on eBay he had no idea how much interest this auction would draw. Top athletes and film stars use mental coaches, but he didn’t know whether the general public would pay for what might be called nothing more than an idea.

Bidding opened at $10 and after fifteen bids this idea sold for $250, representing perhaps the first time an “idea” has been sold in an auction. The winner is a recreational tennis player in New York. She will receive one hour of mental coaching by Dr. Murray.

“I had a hunch this would draw some attention since so many are beginning to recognize the value of confidence and mental training. The auction testified to broad-based interest,” said Dr. Murray, who has coached some of the top athletes in the world. “The public response justified my hunch.”

The auction was started to demonstrate public and professional interest in training the brain. “We’ve gone almost as far as we can go physically, but mental training is a territory with unlimited potential for improvement in business, sports, or life,” said Murray, who has spoken on this topic on numerous talk shows.

Many pro athletes, teams, businesses, and organizations receive the benefits of mental coaching, but most people are still often surprised to know that these services even exist as there are few legitimate performance psychologists or other professionals to provide these services.

Confidence is described as an umbrella term reflecting all the thoughts, feelings, actions and sensations reflecting self-belief and expectations of success. Top tennis professional Vincent Spadea spoke on national television about the benefits of mental coaching to reverse the longest losing streak in tennis history and return to top 20 in the world.

For more information about “mental training” and Dr. Murray go to

John F. Murray, PhD
TEL: 561-596-9898
FAX: 561-805-8662

Dr. John. F. Murray is a Sport and Clinical Psychologist in Palm Beach, FL and helps athletes, and business people build their confidence.

Top 5 Ways to Deal with Financial Stress

John F. Murray, Ph.D.

John F. Murray, Ph.D.

In the last 13 years our country has seen plenty of ups and downs in the stock market including the devastating “.com bubble” at the beginning of the 21st century. Employment has sometimes been at rates that are comparable to that of the great depression, and there are numerous job positions and entire industries that are bordering on extinction because of technological advances.

Regardless of the number of zeroes that may be attached to your bottom line, it is likely that you and the people around you have all been put under some stress in this recent time period. This article names 5 of the best ways that you can cope with the psychological, economic, and family-related stresses that your finances bring into your life.

Seek Information and Greater Knowledge

While doing this may help to act as a distraction from your worries, this is not the only role that this plays in relieving stress from your life. Remember the old phrase “knowledge is power”? This is true in the practical sense and in that knowledge also helps to instill confidence in one’s self. Adding to your own confidence can be a stress reliever.

Here are two great articles on my website that I suggest reading that also deal with this general topic:

  1. Positives Hiding in Stock turmoil
  2. Stress: It’s Worse than You Think

Attend a Workshop or Seminar

There is a wide range of seminars and workshops being conducted out there that are intended to help relieve stress in your life (especially financial stress). I conduct some of these seminars myself with my clients and sometimes for the general public. Feel free to contact me if you would like to discuss setting up a seminar for your corporation or group. I can be reached at (561) 596-9898.

Join a Social Group or Network

It’s not just you out there, and I can assure you that you are not the only one asking the question of how to relieve the financial stress in your life. Don’t just join any group (although there are benefits to joining just about any positively-oriented group). Join a group that has a good leader, moderator, or psychologist who is qualified to help you.

Visit a Museum or Look at Other Art

I love giving this suggestion to my clients because almost everyone has some type of art that they can appreciate. You may like collecting or viewing paintings. Some people enjoy watching musicians play. The type of art that you like is almost inconsequential to the conversation. A geology professor might simply enjoy driving through the mountains and viewing the different rock layers that are visible (think of that as God’s art).

My personal preference for art is in mechanical wrist watches. Some of the watches that I have collected in the past have been artistic time pieces in their own right because of the way that they were crafted, but they have also had some historical significance to the sports world. I once had a 1955 Bulova wristwatch, for example, that was inscribed to Pee Wee Reese (Brooklyn Dodgers) after his team beat the NY Yankees in the World Series.

The type of art that you collect or appreciate is up to you. The role that this plays in your life will likely be much the same.

Become an Even More Avid Sports Fan

Don’t just work hard all day and allow this to be the only activity in your life. Showing your sports face as a fan and showing some passion for your team can help to relieve some of the financial stress in your life.

I hope that these 5 tips are helpful to my readers who are feeling an increase in stress due to their finances. Seek information, attend a workshop, join a social group, look at art, and become a more avid sports fan. I’m sorry that I haven’t told you how to decrease your stock market risk while maintaining a portfolio that was capable of earning 30% each year, but I hope that these tips will at least make life a little bit more pleasant while you are searching for someone who can do that for you.

If this is your first time visiting my website, please stop by the homepage for information about sports psychology. There are also sections that are dedicated to tennis psychology, golf psychology, and great sports psychology quotes.


Health and Wellness

Dr. John F. Murray’s work with private clients and groups also extends to areas of health, fitness, wellness and lifestyle. His specialization in the health psychology track at the University of Florida Department of Clinical and Health Psychology, and first masters degree earned within the Department of Health and Human Performance, provided the training for this focus.

Individuals and groups benefit by learning to eat healthier, exercise smarter, manage stress better, and improve lifestyle habits. Dr. Murray has conducted many seminars and workshops on stress management and conflict resolution, and the mental principles he uses with athletes and businesses apply equally to overall health and life satisfaction.

Dr. Murray has also contributed to many health and fitness publications such as Prevention, Men’s Health, Men’s Fitness, Fitness,, Conditioning and Training Magazine, Physical Magazine, and RemedyRX.

Thank You for Visiting. Call 561-596-9898 or send an email to

My Pseudo-Trainer and Client Wins Summa Cum Laude

Special to – July 22, 2010 – Many of you follow my daily activities on Twitter, Facebook or this website. In a few of my past posts I alluded to one of my clients who I started counseling while walking in my unique brand of walk therapy written about in the National Post of Canada and the Wall Street Journal. Why be normal when you can be super-normal is my motto!

This client was fun to tweet about because he was somewhat odd in his sessions which started with walking and progressed to intense walking sessions. I soon realized that this client had no interest in wearing running shoes and instead opted to wear flip flops or sandals even when running long distances as many as 30 miles! Our sports psychology sessions would transpire in the car driving to our runs or on the walks before the runs, and we would then run long distances alone and meet up at a later time, at times running the University of Miami campus, the Palm Beach lake and ocean trails, or more lately from the west part of Las Olas Blvd. in Ft. Lauderdale to AIA and then north to Oakland Park or Commercial Blvd. and back.

In short, we combined our sessions with healthy exercise but despite my many warnings to him he insisted in running in sandals. He soon outclassed even the fastest runners on AIA and one day even went 30 plus miles in sandals. He tried a pair of vibram running shoes that look like gloves, but they soon broke and he returned to wearing sandals.

This client was a married student with two children and attending a local university. On campus he dressed in casual clothing and got into his share of trouble with administration. He bucked the trend, spoke his mind, and at times complained to the university administration for unfair policies and restrictions of student freedom. We’ll spare the details, but let’s just say that he was more inclined to tell the truth than play the game and stay out of trouble. He despised red tape, university politics and outdated policies, and unfair treatment of students send him into a frenzy. His controversial nature got him in trouble more than once and the administration even tried to throw him out a couple times in ridiculous hearings that he always defended himself well at, leaving the administration looking confused and disoriented, but he always walked away from these conjured up hearings because there was nothing to them.

He didn’t talk much about his grades, so I assumed he was a B student or maybe B+ since he had a family to take care of, engaged in these marathon runs, and just didn’t fit the image of a pencil case carrying geek with academic perfectionism. I was wrong. He didn’t look like a geek, but he apparently is. My pseudo-trainer recently attended his graduation ceremonies and learned after completing his degree not in 4, but in 1.5 years, and was named the overall best student in the school with a GPA over 3.9 that earned him the top honors of Summa Cum Laude. To add insult to injury for the mean spirited adminsitration, last week he also get accepted into medical school program that awards a combined MD and PhD.

After medical school and residency, this pseudo-trainer wants to do nothing less than cure cancer, and he says he already knows exactly which part of the human genome he is going after once he sets up his lab and begins his practice. Is a Nobel Prize in the future for him. Probably not. It is probably not a big enough challenge for him.

I’ll keep pseudo-trainer annonnymous because he is still a client, and he also has a lot of schooling left and probably not the convenience of a sports psychologist bragging about him. Knowing his blunt and somewhat controversial nature he’ll probably rub someone wrong somewhere in the future and I would prefer that nobody with ill intent gain the benefit of reading this. Like art for art’s purpose alone, this article is an applause for the human spirit exemplified in pseudo-trainer. It is a celebration of our need to remain unique and think big throughts. All is within grasp with the proper mental attitude. I teach that daily to my clients and the flip flop running pseudo trainer has been a great student indeed. He has also been a great running coach for me and I am still learning. Let’s clap now for running dude in sandals who beat a corrupt university administration at their own game by being the school’s overall best student, for getting into a very fine MD/PhD program, and for his future Nobel Prize :-) Everyone can take a lesson from him to stand up for what is right rather than go along with corruption and politics, and to shine both academically and in sports.

I hope you all enjoyed this little glimpse into the world of sports psychology and the kind of clients that come my way. Go get em in med school now! This was an article about the human spirit and the benefits of sports psychology.

Video on Mental Benefits of Stretching

Sports Psychology Tip #3 – John F. Murray, Ph.D. – Stretching before any athletic competition is very smart. The physical benefits are obvious, but what you might not realize is that this helps remarkably to relax the athlete and get them ready mentally too.

While on a coaching trip with my client Vince Spadea who was playing a tournament in Chicago in July, 2009, I spoke with him about how stretching helps him with his performance.

Enjoy this video at:

Fitness Magazine Covers Dr. Murray’s Walk Therapy

Palm Beach – February 16, 2009 – First it was the ancient Greeks who did it all the time, then the Wall Street Journal and National Post of Canada wrote about what Dr. Murray was doing with clients in Palm Beach, and in this month’s March 2009 issue of Fitness Magazine, Holly Corbett talks with Dr. John and espouses the benefits of mental health professionals walking and exercising with their clients!

You can read this Fitness Magazine article about a very healthy and therapeutic activity at this link