Arena football became a professional sport in 1986. The Arena Football League (AFL) began holding games in 1987. Although a form of professional football, it did not enjoy as much success as the National Football League (NFL), and the arenas went dark in 2019.
One of the most well-known former AFL players is Austin Dotson, but despite a promising football career at Sacramento State University and in the AFL, he is not famous for playing the game. Instead, he is famous for what he did after football.
Born on October 17, 1991, in Carson, California, Dotson was a sports and athletics fanatic from an early age. He began with Tae Kwon Do, practicing martial arts for five years before discovering a love for playing football. He played all through grade school and high school, working diligently and tirelessly to perfect his craft, knowing that his parents would not be financially situated to pay for undergraduate school.
His hard work paid off, and he attended Sacramento State University on an athletic scholarship to play for the school. After graduating, however, his plans did not come to fruition. Although he had set his sights on the NFL, he was not drafted by any NFL teams, so he accepted an offer from the AFL to play arena football. He quit after two years and got a job with a mortgage company.
Feeling the loss of his football dreams, Dotson began partying to fill that loss. He indulged in alcohol and drugs, and he had short relationships with lots of different women. One of those women gave him a daughter before being hospitalized and unable to care for the child. Dotson found himself a single father with a young daughter to support yet barely able to make ends meet. Then, on Christmas Day in 2016, he was arrested for driving under the influence, and he sunk into a severe depression.
On January 3, 2017, he took a hard look at himself in a mirror and realized that he did not like the man he had become. He vowed to change his life. He applied for and received unemployment benefits, joined a 24 Hour Fitness gym, and learned how to eat healthy foods and exercise to take care of his body. He eventually secured a good job as a behavioral therapist. Six months later, looking in that same mirror, he saw a changed man, a man he could be proud of and who could care for his child easily.
Today, Dotson is an Instagram influencer for health and fitness, with over half a million followers, anxious for his next Reel or post with tips for improving their own health and fitness. He has a thriving social media presence in addition to his Instagram page. He has been featured in several health and fitness magazines, is an SAG commercial actor, and has graced the cover of Men’s Health Magazine. He also has sponsorships from athletic wear companies like GymShark.
Dotson’s hardships have molded him into the man he is today. He began life in a family that struggled financially, had disappointments in his dream career, fought an addiction battle, and found himself a single father. Despite those hardships, however, Dotson has risen to Internet fame and has new employment in a thriving business.