Ian first began his American Football career as a 15-year-old athlete. After attending a ‘rookie taster day’ with the Kent Exiles academy programme, he quickly developed a deep love and passion for both the physical and psychological aspects of the American-born sport.
Pairing his elite mind set with his relentless pursuit for physical improvement, Ian quickly developed as a defensive powerhouse and a natural leader for the Kent Exiles Youth programme.
With 3 years of Youth football, and 1 year of University ball at Oxford Brookes (OBU), Ian was selected to represent his country in the 2015 Under 19’s Great Britain Lions squad; securing his first cap as a Line Backer against an imposing Russia squad. Subsequently Ian was called up for the European Championship squad in Austria.
As a result of his sporting prowess Ian was offered a scholarship and returned to OBU with more than he had bargained for. At the end of his second year in Oxford, Ian made a respectfully difficult decision to defer his final year due to mental health issues, eventually seeking rehabilitation support from a dedicated centre.
It was at this point that Ian’s love of the game, and his shear grit and mental determination made him stand out as an Unlimited Athlete!
Battling a myriad of psychological issues, using the support of his teammates and coaches, and the release that the sport of American Football provides, Ian triumphantly returned to OBU for his graduation year, leading the team to an unprecedented playoff season and winning the Defensive MVP. Furthermore, in the same 2018 season Ian went from 3rd string Corner Back at the Kent Exiles Adult squad, to starting in the National Division 1 final, eventually being awarded ‘Rookie of the Year’.
Ian Whitehead’s story epitomises what it is to be an athlete. Striving for excellence not only through physical limitations, but also through mental battles. His attitude to compete within his field at the highest level goes unrivalled and Unlimited Athlete is proud to tell his story and champion him as an ambassador!