The Iso: Dalton Risner


The Players’ Tribune is introducing a new series called The Iso. With so many of us keeping our distance from each other in a variety of ways, we decided to ask some of our favorite athletes to share how they’ve been dealing with life in the Covid-19 world, and how they’re spending their time away from their sport.

It feels like a movie, honestly. It’s like we’re in the first part of a horror movie. And who knows what’s going to happen? It definitely all seems a little bit surreal.

Mental health is extremely important through all of this. I think a lot of people are very scared. They don’t know what’s going on, especially our generation. I think there are older generations of people that have been through things like the Great Depression, or been through huge traumatic events that are similar to this, but this is the first thing that our generation has really been through, so it’s definitely scary.

My faith is instrumental for me. It’s huge in my life, so making sure that I say my blessings every night, and thank God for what I have and ask Him to watch over us down here on earth is extremely important. That’s been a huge part of guarding my mental health — just keeping my mind at peace and realizing that whatever happens is going to happen and that we’ve got to prepare for the worst. You don’t want to prepare for the best and then have bad things happen.

I’m healthy. I’m good, and my family’s good. We’re staying safe amidst all this craziness.

Definitely, definitely getting in some time with Netflix. I’m not going to act like my whole day is filled with working out and everything like that (but I do that too!). I love to watch shows and movies with my girlfriend every now and then. I love the show Catfish, on Hulu. I mean, obviously, you don’t have a lot going on when you’re just inside the house. I play some Xbox games. I love playing Call of Duty: Black Ops. That’s a good time.

I think my biggest fear, being a man of Christian faith, is that we never know when our last days here on Earth will be. We don’t know if we’re guaranteed tomorrow, and seeing the spread of this virus has really underscored that. Even just a basic sense of normalcy and stability can’t be taken for granted. With how many people are losing their jobs with the shutdowns, we could be looking at 20–30% unemployment across the country. That’s as bad as the Great Depression, which is scary to think about.

Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Image

I have family members who have jobs that rely on the economy doing well — they can’t afford to take a hit. We never know when distribution centers are going to get shut down. Maybe grocery stores will run out of food. So, that percentage — all of the numbers — really scares me, especially if the projections get worse, like I think they will. Then we really are looking at the Great Depression where people have to stock up on food and people are going hungry.

As a member of the Denver Broncos, I know plenty of my teammates who have been in the NFL for a while have foundations that are fully set up and ready to help. They’ve been doing some really cool things in terms of donating meals and donating money to families. Also, the Broncos reached out to us and said if we want to help in any way to contact them.

I have a new foundation called the Risner Up Foundation. You can go to to check it out. As a new foundation, we’re still building up funds, but being someone that plays in the NFL and is also in the spotlight, I want to help in whatever way I can, whether that be back in my hometown of Wiggins, Colorado, or in Denver — places like that — to help the people who are in need. It’s important that if you’re in a position to help in any way, especially if this continues to get worse, that you try.

I just encourage everyone to know that there’s a bigger picture at hand. We don’t know what the plan is. I encourage everyone to stay together. Say, “I love you,” to your loved ones. Say your blessings. Say your prayers at night. Thank God for being able to be down here on Earth. And if anything, maybe this makes us more aware of how lucky we are to be down here and how lucky we are to go out to eat or go to a movie. And if anyone wants to reach out about ways that my foundation can help, I’d love to know.