Bowie State University (BSU) alumnus, Dior Ginyard, was recently named to Forbes magazine’s ‘30 Under 30’ list in the sports category for 2018. The prestigious list spotlights 600 young innovators, leaders and entrepreneurs across 20 categories where 30 honorees are selected in each of them.
Forbes reported that over 15,000 online submissions were received. The under four percent acceptance rate of nominees who are under thirty years old is a reminder that Ginyard is regarded as one of the best sports leaders in the country.
Ginyard, 29, currently assists NFL players to prepare for life after football. The father of one, works as a Player Manager for the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA). He assists NFL players as they transition through and beyond the NFL. Among his specific duties, Ginyard encourages the players to earn their degree, pursue secondary education, or trade school.
After receiving recognition by Forbes, in the last year of his twenties, Ginyard remarked that he now feels like a chip is off his shoulder.
“I’ve been carrying this burden of trying to… reach this plateau of like success… or I defeated the odds,” Ginyard said. “I think it’s like putting a bow tie on everything that I’ve been able to accomplish over the past 10 years.”
Behind the scenes, the Prince George’s County resident who was raised by a single mother of three children has overcome many adversities. Regina Toler recalled that her highly accomplished son was once a curious, busy kid who was “always on to the next thing.” Toler says that keeping God in his life, teaching that whatever challenges came his way could be overcome, and knowing that there was a plan for him were some of the elements that helped her son cope with not having a father around for the majority of his life.
Ginyard is grounded and socially concerned. He is also a President’s Volunteer Award Recipient, who was recognized for community service, including: feeding the homeless and partnering with organizations during former President Barack Obama’s administration.has
“I am swelling up with pride. A lot of people don’t know that Dior had a brain injury, when he was in college, and for him to go on and to do this is just amazing to me. I am so proud of him. I am proud of him as a young black man, and I am proud of who he is inside, because he has always remained humble,” Toler said, reflecting on her son’s professional recognition and personal journey. “It’s a miracle that he is here, actually.”
A serious brain injury abruptly ended Ginyard’s dream of becoming a professional football player. When he was a freshman attending Frostburg State University, playing football without a helmet led to a cracked skull. After a period of rehabilitation, a bout of depression, transferring to BSU, and facing news that he could no longer play contact sports were among new realities Ginyard encountered.
Ginyard persevered and earned a bachelor’s degree in public relations from Bowie State University, and went on to earn a master’s degree in management marketing at University of Maryland, University College (UMUC).
Ginyard who faced issues linked to life after football at an early age ultimately found his way back to a sports environment by landing a job at NFLPA. Even though he didn’t reach the level of competitiveness that professional athletes experience, he felt compelled to apply for a position at NFLPA, since the job responsibilities aligned with his experience and interests.
“Things came full circle,” Ginyard said, upon reflection. “I can now help players deal with transitioning, because that’s what I dealt with.”
Making the Forbes list was never Ginyard’s goal but one of the reasons why he is so elated about winning is because he beat the odds and defied societal stereotypes.
“My goal is to prove that you can have all of the variables and society would say, ‘You’re not going to be anything,’ on top of going to an HBCU where you face those stereotypes, and making the list— and now I have a seat at the table with people that everybody would aspire to go to— and I have a voice now. So now, I feel like I can use this as a leverage,” Ginyard said. “Also, if there was a kid out there that was in my situation, when I was younger, if there is a young woman out there that is going to Bowie, or [being] raised by a single mom, I would speak to her or speak to him and say, ‘Hey, I did it. You can do it. It’s going to take some work, but it is possible, and it’s attainable.’”