My Story

Dr Maroon and daughter Bella at Mt Kilimanjaro Summit Feb 26, 22014

Dr Maroon and daughter Bella at Mt Kilimanjaro Summit Feb 26, 22014

Dr Joseph Maroon Climbs Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa  (SEE VIDEO)

Dr Maroon is many things, including world-renowned, health and nutrition expert, concussion expert and triathlete, but as of February 26, 2014 you can add mountain climber.

Starting out on February 20th Dr. Maroon traveled to the country of Tanzania located in eastern Africa to participate as medical adviser to first ever climb of Mount Kilimanjaro by 10 amputees.  The Live Free Foundation, founded and led by triple amputee Rajesh Durbal,  organized an expedition climbing to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest elevation in the continent of Africa at over 19,000 ft.  The participants were also part of a multi-city tour called “Freedom No Limits“.

At these events, entitled “Overcoming Attitude with Altitude”  the climbers presented inspiration lectures and athletic events at various community centers, centers for the disable, and orphanages with the message of overcoming obstacles with “attitude” whether you are physically disabled or not.  Per Rajesh Durbal, first triple amputee to finish an Ironman Triathlon in Kona, HI, “There was an opportunity for each climber to make a lasting impact on the lives of thousands of disabled people in Africa that are often without hope and too often marginalized in their communities.”  “By seeing what we can do (climb of Mount Kilimanjaro) they may also find some strength to overcome their own adversity.”

In addition to the 10 amputee climbers there were 3 person professional media team,  led by Sean Falconer Editor of Modern Athlete. Modern Athlete is the most popular sports magazine in South Africa.  Modern Athlete  filmed the climb for a documentary that will tell the story of this first expedition of amputees from various countries attempting to climb the highest mountain in Africa

Dr. Maroon was  accompanied by his daughter, Isabella Maroon, a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. There were numerous corporate sponsors for the event providing funds to offset the cost for disabled climbers.  To learn more about the foundation go to

See article of KDKA TV2- Interview of Dr Maroon HERE.  See Video

2013 Ironman Triathlon Finish

2013 Ironman Triathlon Finish

 A life-changing “invitation”

I was 40 when I suddenly lost my father to a heart attack and a marriage and family subsequently to divorce. I had been so focused on my work that I neglected most other aspects of my life – including my health. I was out of shape, living on fast food and not exercising. All these factors resulted in a deep depressed. Within a week, I plunged from a bright career as a clinical professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Pittsburgh to helping my mother run my father’s dilapidated truck stop in Wheeling, WV, which included pumping gas into 18-wheelers as they rolled in from the nearby interstate.

My metamorphosis back to a healthy lifestyle began months later when a friend and running enthusiast invited me to go for a run. I ran just four times around the track and was exhausted. But that night was the first time I’d slept well in about a year. This memory still makes me smile. I started running more and more, and began to feel better and better. I became something like the Forrest Gump of Bridgeport, Ohio. After experiencing some muscle strains from running too much, I discovered cross-training: I learned how to swim, started biking, and soon competed in the first of what would be more than 70 triathlons. The exercise propelled me out my depression and back onto my feet, and soon after I returned to the University of Pittsburgh as Vice Chairman of the Department Neurological Surgery.

My Story CaptionsAround that time, I started to realize that proper nutrition and supplementation were important elements if I wanted to continue to improve. So, I investigated proper nutrition and dietary supplements, and began going into my local GNC store to learn more and obtain the proper sports supplements. It paid off. After several marathons and Olympic-distant triathlons, I competed in my first World Championship Ironman race in Hawaii in 1993 – the Super Bowl of the triathlon sport. I have completed 8 more Ironman’s since, usually placing among the top 10 in my age group.

I have published two books that discuss the healthy living and nutrition I try to live. In the most recently published book, The Longevity Factor: How Resveratrol and Red Wine can Activate Genes for a Longer and Healthier Life, I discuss the new science of genetic activation and the ability of food choices, supplements like resveratrol and lifestyle choices to activate human genes, to better health and disease prevention. In a previous book, Fish Oil: The Natural Anti-inflammatory, I discussed the benefits of fish oil and its wide range of benefits.My life-changing commitment to fitness, nutrition and exercise has brought me professional recognition as well. In addition to my university responsibilities of performing more than 350 neurosurgical operations a year, I am the Chairman of GNC’s Medical Advisory Board and a Board Member of the Mylan Pharmaceutical Company, the 3rd largest generic drug manufacturer in the world.

THE LONGEVITY FACTORIn addition, I have been team neurosurgeon for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Medical Director for World Wrestling Entertainment. I always liked sports, specifically football. I played football in high school and earned an athletic scholarship to Indiana University. As an undergraduate, I was selected as a Scholastic All American in Football. Having played – and gotten hit – quite a bit myself, I understand what football players deal with in terms of impact to their body – and brain.

Management of concussions is a major avocation. Between my own experience with them from my football playing years, and as a neurosurgeon who understands the neurological damage done to the brain, I have committed myself to help prevent and treat concussions in sports and in the military. In the early 1990’s, together with neuropsychologist Dr. Mark Lovell we developed ImPACTTM, an individualized screening tool that helps to assess concussion symptoms and make informed return-to-play decisions, without having to rely on “general guidelines”.  We have now Baseline Tested over 4.5 million students and athletes at all levels of sport.

I still enjoy every aspect of my life: talking to my patients, performing the surgeries, conducting my research and sharing my expertise with patients, colleagues and you. I still work out every day and am currently recovering for my 8th Ironman triathlon in Hawaii in October 2013.

Video Biography


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