A new film from a former NFL football player and Green Beret offers an inspiring look at the connections between athletes and veterans.
Nate Boyer, co-founder of Merging Vets and Players, shares accounts of veterans and athletes encouraging one another through the film “MVP.”
The film follows a former Marine, portrayed by Boyer, who lives in a homeless shelter in Los Angeles and meets an NFL rookie destined to find his purpose.
“They’re going through the exact same thing,” Boyer said, according to Military Times. “That same issue of feeling like, ‘I could have done more. I left people behind. I don’t belong. I peaked, and I’ll never be great again.’”
The film, produced by Hollywood veteran Sylvester Stallone, opened in theaters in September and is now available on streaming platforms, including Amazon Prime Video.
Boyer’s story serves as the inspiration for his work on the project. He joined the Army in 2005, leaving active duty as a Special Forces officer four years later.
The Army officer then enrolled at the University of Texas and became a long snapper for the Longhorns football team. He also continued to serve in tours in Afghanistan during school breaks.
Following his years in Austin, Boyer joined the Seattle Seahawks, competing with the team until 2015, just months after leaving the Armed Forces. The storied soldier and athlete suddenly switched from being involved in the military and pro sports to seeking a new purpose.
“MVP the organization, even though I was a co-founder of it, I was a member first,” Boyer told the Military Times. “It helped save me.”
His organization now helps other athletes and veterans working to transition from their careers. Its programs include physical fitness and peer-to-peer support to warriors through the inevitable challenges of moving from one sphere of influence to another.
MVP now includes chapters in eight cities across the nation, including Los Angeles, Atlanta, Las Vegas, New York, Chicago, Seattle, Dallas and Phoenix. A virtual chapter also exists for those outside of current chapters who desire to participate from any location.
The testimonies of participants claim MVP has been transformational in their personal journeys.
“For well over a year, MVP has helped me through my healing journey,” Air Force veteran Beverly Footman said. “Because of the amazing peer support from this group of fellow veterans and professional athletes who share similar life experiences, I’ve finally been able to have a voice again.”