Keith

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Under My Helmet: An Athlete’s Battle with Mental Illness

Under My Helmet is the intensely personal story of a man working every day to prove his worth while struggling with a debilitating, and for years, undiagnosed mental illness. Sleepless nights, unending anxiety and suicidal thoughts clouded his mind so dramatically, he even considered quitting the NFL multiple times. Two years later, during his time with the Indiana Colts that resulted in a Superbowl championship, he was still marked by bouts of anxiety, depression and a slow descent to madness. It was not until Keith was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder that things began to make sense. Embarking on a new journey, one that he is still on and will always be on, he shares his battles and the steps he’s taken to overcome adversity. His Foundation, 4th and Forever, is dedicated to assisting those living with and affected by mental health conditions, through programs that raise awareness, promote education and fund research to alleviate mental illness.

Keith O’Neil

Mental Health and Wellbeing | Former NFL Linebacker | Super Bowl Champion | Author

Keith O’Neil is a former NFL football player with a career playing for the Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts and New York Giants. During his professional career he served as team captain and was a member of the Colts Super Bowl XLI Championship team.

Throughout his time in the NFL, Keith played with an undiagnosed mental illness – bipolar disorder.  Now as President and Founder of the 4th and Forever Foundation, Keith’s mission is to bring awareness to mental health and fund research for mental illness.  He is extremely passionate about helping others and is dedicated to assisting those living with and affected by mental health conditions, through programs that raise awareness, promote education and fund research to alleviate mental illness.

He believes, “with the proper diagnosis, medical attention and determination, anyone can achieve anything. If he can make it in the high stress environment of playing in the NFL with bipolar disorder, anything is possible!”

Keith’s memoir Under My Helmet – A Football Players Lifelong Battle with Bipolar Disorder, speaks to audiences in the sports and mental health communities.

Background

Keith lives in Pendleton, NY with his wife Jill and two sons Connor and Tanner. Keith's father, Ed O'Neil was an All-American linebacker at Penn State University, and a first-round draft pick in the 1974 NFL Draft. His brother Kevin, played linebacker at Syracuse University and played in five major bowl games. Keith's brother-in law, Drew Haddad, played for the Buffalo Bills, Indianapolis Colts and the San Diego.

Topics

Under My Helmet: An Athlete’s Battle with Mental Illness

Under My Helmet is the intensely personal story of a man working every day to prove his worth while struggling with a debilitating, and for years, undiagnosed mental illness. Sleepless nights, unending anxiety and suicidal thoughts clouded his mind so dramatically, he even considered quitting the NFL multiple times. Two years later, during his time with the Indiana Colts that resulted in a Superbowl championship, he was still marked by bouts of anxiety, depression and a slow descent to madness. It was not until Keith was diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder that things began to make sense. Embarking on a new journey, one that he is still on and will always be on, he shares his battles and the steps he’s taken to overcome adversity. His Foundation, 4th and Forever, is dedicated to assisting those living with and affected by mental health conditions, through programs that raise awareness, promote education and fund research to alleviate mental illness.

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Testimonial

I believe that writing this book is even more significant than winning a Super Bowl. Since being diagnosed, Keith has made it his mission to help other people who are suffering from mental illness. He wants to let people know that there is no shame in having a mental illness – it is no different than a physical ailment. If you see the right doctors and follow the right treatment plan, you can improve, and even be healed.

— Tony Dungy, Former NFL Player and Coach

Testimonial

O’Neil makes a touchdown addressing stigma with his straightforward, from-the-heart story of living with bipolar disorder. A must-read!

— Muffy Walker, MSN, MBA, Founder of the International Bipolar Foundation