Personal Tragedy Inspires Professional Football Player To Become Firefighter

Chris Martin played for five NFL teams before the death of his son led him to pursue a career as a firefighter.

A former professional football player is the newest member of the Seminole County Fire Department.

Offensive tackle Chris Martin played for University of Central Florida and was a member of five NFL teams before the death of his two-year-old son Gunner led him to pursue a career as a firefighter

Chris Martin Seminole County Fire Department

Seminole County Fire Department 

“On April 6, 2016, my wife and I found our son unfortunately at the bottom of a pool,” Martin, 33, told Click Orlando. “We had a pool in the backyard. We weren’t really aware of the different preventative measures we could take to prevent it. That’s when I realized that’s what I want to do when I’m done [with football].”

Gunner Martin

Courtesy: Seminole County Fire Department 

As a firefighter, Martin can help others learn how to avoid that same tragedy. And through The Gunner Martin Foundation, he and his wife Christina provide swim lessons for kids and teach parents with pools how to make them safer.

“If nobody’s kid ever drowns in Florida, especially Seminole County, that would be good,” the Fort Walton Beach native said. “If we could live in that perfect world, it would be great. But unfortunately the odds are against Floridians just because it’s Florida.”

Chris Martin Wife Son

Courtesy: Seminole County Fire Department 

According to CDC data, drowning is the top cause of death for children between the ages of 1 and 4 in the state of Florida.

“I’ve had a lot of pushback from some family members saying I shouldn’t go to these calls, and I’m sure my lieutenant wouldn’t make me, but it’s actually something I would like to do,” Martin told Click Orlando. “If I was able to go to a young child drowning and be there and try to help revive and hopefully bring him back, I would love for that opportunity. Why? Because I’ve been there.”

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles