From a young age, football was always a huge part of Casey Cochran’s life.
“No matter what I was going to play football,” said Cochran.
Growing up in a football family, Casey became the two-time Gatorade Player of the Year in Connecticut before being named the starting quarterback at UConn. But more than a dozen concussions forced him to give up the game he loved.”
“I was in a dark place after football, mainly because of the concussions but because of the lack of community that I had,” said Cochran. “You know, how big the locker room was for me, how big the sport was for me.”
Cochran battled anxiety and depression on his way to finding a new identity.
“When I needed to fill that void after football, music is what filled it,” said Cochran.
Five years ago, he picked up a guitar for the first time and began writing his own songs.
“It became very therapeutic for me,” said Cochran. “I realized there was another path for me. The subject matter in the songs are really my storyline. It took years, maybe three years of writing songs that didn’t sound great, that I didn’t want to play in front of other people.”
After building up the courage to share his new passion, Cochran released his debut album ‘Take It Slow’ this month.
“It was a dream that was way off but it had to culminate and had to happen. When it came out last week, it was one of the most fulfilling things in my life,” said Cochran. “This album was a blast to make and I think that really shows on the album.”
The former quarterback has a complicated relationship with football. For all of the problems it caused, it also made him who he is today.
“That’s why this album is very important for me. It’s a lesson for me and for other people to realize that those life lessons that you learn through sports can be learned in other avenues,” said Cochran. “Music is something that I can have for the rest of my life and it’s something that I’ll pursue for the rest of my life. It’s what is right for me and it feels good to have that path.”
Cochran hopes his music inspires others who are carving out a new path or have a dream they are putting on hold.
“If you have that dream, if you have something that seems like it is out of reach, never stop pushing towards that dream because it will make you feel whole,” said Cochran. “It will make you feel complete.”