Former Beloved Brown’s Quarterback Learns ‘to Scramble’ Off Field
July 19, 2018 by Rose Nemunaitis

We watched him on countless Sundays.

We watched him on countless Sundays.

He gave us hope and fans loved the way he played, never leaving the game early and fighting to the end.

Former Cleveland Browns quarterback Bernie Kosar is back in the limelight, strong as ever, and inspiring and helping others.

“The life lessons that I have been blessed to experience because of football and the gifts  that I have been given and earned has really helped me to help so many others and give back,” Kosar said. “It’s easy to focus on all the good experiences, but some extremely valuable lessons are also learned by negative situations and/or experiences. It’s so important to be opened-minded and most honest with ourselves to truly grow and learn.”

Kosar and Heinen’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Todd Pesek teamed up to share wellness tips for leading a healthier life at an event called “Learning to Scramble” July 10 at the Heinen’s Chardon Café.

The team shared their simple holistic lifestyle practices, some taken from from Pesek’s book “Eat Yourself Super One Bite at a Time” and life lessons from Kosar’s book “Bernie Kosar: Learning to Scramble.”

Derek Murphy, of Fairport Harbor — who was not yet born when the excitement of the Kardiac Kids lifted the spirits of Cleveland — sat in the front row paging through a copy of Kosar’s new book.

“He’s arguably the best who ever put on brown and orange,” said Murphy, sitting alongside his friend, Cris Ross, a U.S. Army veteran who was born the same year Kosar’s career really took off, 1986. Kosar threw for 3,854 yards and 17 touchdowns that year, and for the first time in franchise history, the Browns reached the AFC Championship Game.

“Bernie Kosar is one of Ohio’s homegrown athletes who showed loyalty to the organizations he played for and loyal to the state that groomed him,” Ross said. “Not only was he a fierce competitor, he was a humble, respectful and friendly player to his competition. Hearing part of the struggles Bernie Kosar has overcome has given me encouragement through recent struggles, (to help me stay strong) and keep driving through to work past life’s obstacles.”

From former breakfasts of kielbasa and pierogies, to injuries making it difficult for the former NFL quarterback to exercise, Kosar’s weight ballooned to where he said he was “a couple of (Hostess) Ho Hos away”from 300 pounds.

Kosar said officially he suffered 15 concussions, but it was probably more than 50 while playing in the NFL.

He said it is important to him to help, financially and medically, other former players who are suffering extremely.

After a long journey with well-documented struggles post football, Kosar is now at a good place in his life. Physically, he looks like he has never left the field.

“It’s been a miracle,” Kosar said, referring to his transformation after incorporating Pesak’s healthcare practices of disease prevention and reversal strategies.

Pesek is founder of VitalHealth Partners, with offices in Willoughby Hills and Westlake, He has a medical doctorate from The Ohio State University College of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic, and completed training in medicine at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and St. Vincent Charity Hospital.

Pesek’s guidebook shows how superfoods — or plant-based, nutrient dense, calorie sparse, health empowering foods — can help everyone achieve the true health that is “the human birthright.”

“The grocery store is really the doctor’s office of the future,” Pesek added.

Guests sampled superfood recipes including a dandelion latte, lemon raspberry chia pudding, minty matcha iced tea and Ashwagandha stress and detox energy balls.

“I have always had a personal interest in health, especially food and nutrition and the connection between diet and disease prevention, and nutrition for fueling physical activity and sports,” said Kerry Banks, of Chardon, who attended the presentation with her husband, Byron. “Bernie and Dr. Pesek spoke with honesty, sincerity and understanding, and on a level I think most people could relate to.”

Both Pesek and Kosar stressed it is all about incorporating little changes one step at a time until you feel comfortable, if you choose, to go “all in,” like Kosar said he did.

“I found the program inspiring and motivating to keep learning, keep moving and that healthy eating doesn’t have to be an all or nothing mindset,” Banks said. “Like Bernie said, small changes daily really do add up over time.”

Pesek said if people slowly incorporate into their lifestyle “smart supplementation,” they can’t help but see progress.

“People don’t want to pop pills, they want to be healthy,” he said.

In his aforementioned book, Kosar shares how he evolved, developed new ways of approaching life and how success can come when you learn to scramble with the “never give up” mentality of pro football.

Kosar’s book chronicles his rise from a blue-collar kid from Youngstown, to the leader of the University of Miami’s first national championship team, to his glory with the Cleveland Browns and well-documented struggles after his playing career ended.

“Dedication to positive changes can be difficult, yet the rewards to rid the negativity in health make a difference in an enjoyable life,” Ross said.

Kosar — who currently enjoys life on his Mantua farm riding ATVs with family and spending quality time with his “better half,” Anna — said the key to success is overcoming challenges through drive and determination.

“It’s continuing to strive for success despite discouraging setbacks,” said Kosar in his book. “It’s never giving up and never giving in — both on the field and off.”