POTW: Doug Datish, Former NFL Player & Alpine Springs Rehabilitation and Recovery

Each week, the #SpanningtheNeed podcast will present an “Inspirational Person of the Week’ and have a “Q & A” with one of its many gifted individuals and/or groups who are willing to go out of their own way to help others. This week’s featured is Doug Datish, Former NFL Player & Alpine Springs Rehabilitation and Recovery.

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Name: Doug Datish
Alpine Springs Rehabilitation and Recovery
Bio: Born on August 1, 1983, he is a 2002 Howland High School graduate where he earned four football letters for the Tigers. The 2001 Ohio Division II Co-“Defensive Player of the Year,” he started 40 regular season games and one play-off contest from 1998-2001 for the Tigers. In 2001 he was the #1 ranked offensive lineman in the state and was ranked as the #5 overall offensive lineman in the country.

An ESPN and USA Today All-American, he graduated from high school with honors and accepted a scholarship to The Ohio State University where he played all four seasons for former YSU head football coach and current school president, Jim Tressel. The only player in the 124-year history of Buckeye football to start 10 or more games at three different positions, he earned All-Big Ten First-Team honors as a senior in ‘06 when he was the center for Heisman Trophy winning quarterback, Troy Smith.

He was originally drafted by the Atlanta Falcons (Sixth-round, 198th selection overall) in the 2007 NFL Draft, playing a year with the NFC South Division team. After the Falcons, he played two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, retiring in 2010 as a vested player in the National Football league.

Post-football he has been deeply involved in multiple charities.  As an active participant of the Buckeye Cruise for Cancer, they have helped raise over $30 million for The Ohio State University James Cancer Center. In 2015, he founded the Alpine Springs Rehabilitation and Recovery Center, offering individualized treatment to those struggling with addiction. He is an is active member of the mental health community and sits on the Board of the Ross Griffin Memorial Foundation.

What made you want to go into this field?
Football is prevalent in my family and was a part of my life from a young age. Plus it is woven into the fabric of the area. I am drawn to things that are difficult. Football is physically and mentally challenging. I loved the competition and the fact that its in simple terms of winning and losing.

What’s the biggest factor that has helped you be successful?
Work ethic and perseverance. 

What is the biggest professional mistake you made along the way?
Not having enough confidence in myself as a person or a player.

What is the hardest decision you ever had to make in this field?
In college I was benched my sophomore year due to poor performance. This was due to carrying a rigorous class load in the Pre-pharm program. At least for me, there were not enough hours in the day to be successful on the field and in the classroom to the levels I expected for myself. I had to make a choice to focus on academics or make a decision to change majors and earn my spot back as a starter on the offensive line. It was a difficult choice and even harder journey than I anticipated, but I was able to earn a starting position at LT my junior year and finished up as an All-Big 10 first team OL. This experience helped to shape me into the person I am today.

If you could start all over again, what would you do differently regarding your profession?
I would work on my mental health as much as my physical health. We spend so much time honing our bodies, but not as much on the mind.

What inspires you to do good in our community?
This community has given so much to my family and I that its vital to give back and pay forward.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering in our community?
I enjoy meeting people from all walks of life. Additionally, I like the ripple effect that kindness has on people. Simple acts of kindness can really change the trajectory of a person’s life.

What song best describes you or is the soundtrack to your life?
Nessun Dorma

What is your best accomplishment/experience in life?
Cliche, but getting married to my wife and having our son. The birth of a child has an ability to clarify many things.
Best Experience (football): Beating Michigan 4 times
Accomplishments: We will see what happens as I am of the belief that the best is yet to come.

Who is your role model and Why?
I take inspiration from many people and have been fortunate to have great individuals in my life. Coach/ Pres. Jim Tressel comes to mind as he is a great man. His ability to get the best out of individuals and teams through positive and thorough processes is second to none. His belief in standards made a big impression. Also, his unending devotion to service for those around him and our species as a whole is awe inspiring.

If there was one person that you would like to meet, past or present and why?
My Grandfather on my fathers side. He passed away when I was 6 months old. I would have liked to have gotten to know him.

A favorite quote that you live by?
It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.” – President Theodore Roosevelt  “The Man in the Arena”


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