Akbar Gbajabiamila Sees ‘American Ninja Warrior’ As “Occupational Therapy”

Former NFL player Akbar Gbajabiamila has a vivid memory of March 25, 2013, as it’s the day he got the call to co-host American Ninja Warrior. A new season of ANW is in full swing (Akbar also works with Matt Iseman on Team Ninja Warrior which has its season finale this Tuesday). During an interview with Gbajabiamila, I asked him how American Ninja Warrior has transformed his life.

American Ninja Warrior
AMERICAN NINJA WARRIOR — “Los Angeles Finals” — Pictured: (l-r) Matt Iseman, Kristine Leahy, Akbar Gbajabiamila — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)

“Most players don’t talk about this but being a former NFL player there’s this form of depression you go through when you’re transitioning. You’re trying to find what’s next, who you are, you go through this identity crisis because for so long you’ve been identified as just a football player and this show has given me a platform and in that the rewarding part has been able to see other people overcome (adversity)

I get to be around it – it’s almost therapeutic because I get to watch these people who overcome cancer (or) competing on one leg. Whatever their situation is – to see that, be around it and be a part of it to me has been I guess an occupational therapy.”

For the video version of Gbajabiamila’s comments, click below:

American Ninja Warrior with Gbajabiamila, Kristine Leahy, and Matt Iseman airs Monday nights on NBC (8 pm et/pt).

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