Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

PSU Football

Former Penn State RB Journey Brown Starting New Career in Pit Racing, EKG Awareness

Photo by Penn State Athletics: Journey Brown

Journey Brown was on the verge of being the next star running back at Penn State, following in the footsteps of Saquon Barkley and Miles Sanders. 

He set off a Cotton Bowl record of 202 yards rushing in Penn State’s 53-39 win over Memphis in 2019

Then, his career came to a halt.

In the fall of 2020, his life changed forever when he was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. According to the Mayo Clinic, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is “a disease in which the heart muscle becomes thickened (hypertrophied). The thickened heart muscle can make it harder for the heart to pump blood.”

This condition forced Brown to leave football, ending his NFL dream.

Thankfully for Brown, doctors caught the heart issue in time, which prevented Brown from losing a lot more on top of the game he loved. 

Now, it’s 2023, and Brown’s pursuing a new career learning how to pit race cars and collaborating with Advent Health to promote the importance of EKG testing for young athletes so they can learn about their heart issues in time, as Brown did.  


In a documentary from Advent Health called From the Gridiron to the Garage: Act One Delay of Game, Brown spoke about how he found out about his health issue and how he had to deal with not playing football anymore.

Brown, a Meadville, Pennsylvania native, grew up around football. His uncles and cousins played, and his mother, Buffy, influenced his development. He used to try to run across the living room at his house at a young age with her as a defender.

“My whole family is like a football family,” Brown said. “My uncles all played. It was kind of like I was bread into it. 

“I had aspirations of playing at the next level. I literally couldn’t think of any other place I would rather be than playing football.”

After having that virtuoso performance after the Cotton Bowl, he returned for the 2020 season, coming into the year bigger, stronger and faster. 

Brown wanted to prove to scouts that he was an NFL-caliber back

Then, the COVID-19 pandemic occurred and delayed Penn State’s season.

Brown was one of the many who got COVID. 

“The whole team was getting it, so it was inevitable regardless,” Brown said. “So after I got COVID, I went and took the tests.”

After Brown got his MRI, he wasn’t too worried.

Then, the doctor told him he had to take more tests. 

Brown brushed it off like he was in denial that something could be wrong.

Then, one day, coach James Franklin called him into his office with the doctors to inform him of his career-ending but lifesaving news.

“The doctors were just breaking its down,” Brown said. “He was like, ‘Look, man, we found something in your heart, so you’re going to have to miss the 2020 season until we figure out what’s going on. 

Brown was stunned.

“I went outside and just started yelling, and I was just so mad and upset. After I kind of came to, I was just like, ‘dang.’ How am I going to tell my mom? How am I going to tell my family? 

When Brown called his mom, he started crying, and he didn’t know what he was going to do with himself.

It was kind of like, what do I do now?” Brown said. I was consumed by football; that’s what I kind of made myself with. It took me a while; I’m not going to front, to refine myself. Like, who am I? If Journey Brown isn’t associated with football, who is Journey Brown?”

Brown has seemed to find who he is in his post-football career, and he’s looking to make a difference.

Twitter: @bwalkerdadon

Get NSN in your Inbox

Enter your email address to get notifications of new posts by email.

More from Nittany Sports Now

PSU Football

0 On Friday, former Penn State running back Devyn Ford exited the transfer portal and landed at Notre Dame. 🍀⚜️ — D. Ford...

PSU Football

0 There are only 99 days until Penn State football kicks off the 2023 season under the lights against West Virginia. Here are early...

PSU Football

0 As expected, one of the most hyped games on  Penn State football’s 2023 schedule will be a noon kick. College Football Insider Brett...

Lasching Out

0 Welcome to a brand-new Lasching Out Podcast on the Nittany Sports Now Network. This Penn State podcast is hosted by Nittany Sports Now’s...