The Jaguars great and five-time Pro Bowl offensive lineman will be enshrined in Canton, Ohio, on Aug. 6, and he’s tackling the American healthcare industry next.
Tony Boselli spent seven seasons in the NFL battling in the trenches weekly to protect everyone around him as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars from 1995 to 2001.
Despite having his career cut short by a shoulder injury, the left tackle will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Saturday in Canton, Ohio — the first-ever Jaguar to achieve the honor. And with football in his rearview, he again finds himself in the trenches protecting those around him.
Boselli, 50, has immersed himself in the healthcare industry, working with startups and major corporations to hopefully make healthcare more affordable and accessible for all.
“Access should not be a privilege when it comes to healthcare,” Boselli tells Boardroom. “There should be access for all.”
According to a new Gallup poll, an estimated 112 million Americans have trouble paying for healthcare, while more than 90% of the country believes it is not worth the cost. In 2020, U.S. healthcare spending grew 9.7%, reaching $4.1 trillion or $12,530 per person, according to the US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is roughly $4,800 more costly than any other high-income nation.
Boselli explained how he plans to help.
From football to flu vaccines
At 30 years old, Boselli found himself asking, “What next?”
Selected No. 2 overall in the 1995 NFL Draft by the expansion Jaguars, complications from left shoulder surgery left the five-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time first-team All-Pro who helped Jacksonville advance to two AFC Championship games trying to figure out what life was outside of football.
“I was the guy who wanted to play football the rest of his life,” he says. “It’s all I wanted to do growing up. When I got hurt and I’m 30 years old, I’m looking around thinking, What the heck am I going to do the rest of my life? You’re fighting depression, and you’re fighting all the things during that transition.
“I tried everything. I did TV and radio — I still do some radio on the side today — got into speaking, and nothing was fitting perfectly.”
His mother, Dr. Candy Hodgkins, now president and CEO of the Jacksonville-based Gateway drug and alcohol rehab center, told him to leverage his network and business degree from the University of Southern California, where Boselli was a three-time All-American.
Boselli took a more hands-on role at IF Marketing, a company in which he and former Jags teammates Jeff Novak and Will Furrer invested during their playing days. Still, he was left searching for direction again in 2007-08 when the housing and financial crisis hit.
A stalwart in the Jacksonville area, Boselli began lobbying and networking. With no healthcare experience at the time, he was introduced to a company that was providing flu and other vaccinations to schools throughout Alabama. Boselli asked why it couldn’t be done in Florida, but was told it was “too political” and “too hard.”
Not one to back down from a challenge, the 6-foot-7 Boselli created Healthy Schools in 2013, which administers free in-school vaccinations, immunizations, and physicals to students in schools across Florida and Texas. Three years later, Boselli sold the company to CareDox, where he joined as a partner and president. Boselli was then recruited by healthcare giant Optum where he served as vice president of transformation growth for two years.
Today, Boselli is back in healthcare startups as chief growth officer for all.health, a digital healthcare company founded in 2017 by Hosain Rahman and headquartered in San Francisco.
“I learned I was more of an entrepreneur than a big corporate guy,” Boselli says. “I had the opportunity to get back into early-stage companies, so I jumped back in with all.health. The mission and what we’re trying to do fits where my sweet spot is by providing access and care for everyone while trying to lower the cost of care and trying to improve outcomes.”
A few recent first-hand incidents only reinforced Boselli’s career choice. He witnessed the good, bad, and complicated of the healthcare industry as his father, Tony Sr., battled melanoma until he passed in May 2021. Boselli also had his own health scare when he contracted COVID-19, which landed him in the hospital at the Mayo Clinic for five days, including two days in the ICU, after his pulse oxygen level dropped to 88% and he lost 20 pounds.
“My primary doctor didn’t really know what was going on on a daily basis,” Boselli recalls. “He was dependent on me calling or reaching out. I didn’t know if I was getting worse or better. Do I need to go to the hospital? Do I stay home? What do I do?”
“I remember thinking it would be great for there to be a way for me to be monitored in a more seamless way,” he continues. “Technology is supposed to democratize access in a lot of areas and open it up for everybody, but in healthcare, we haven’t seen that as much. I was thinking, There’s got to be a better way. Whether you played football or not, you should have access to care and know what to do in those situations.”
Tony Boselli and all.health hope to utilize technology to ease the issue of access for all while providing care teams and individuals with much-needed insights to live healthier lives through a new venture they’re announcing this fall.
“I don’t care if you’re the richest person in the world or the poorest person in the world or anywhere in between, we all want to live a healthy, fulfilled life,” Boselli says. “No one wants to be sick or have any physical ailment or acute situation that stops them from doing whatever their purpose on this earth is.
“I’m passionate and I’m aspirational about what we can do and will do. We’re very excited.”