The Author Factor Podcast

From Super Bowl Glory to the Operating Room: The Remarkable Story of Dr. John Frank

July 27, 2023 Mike Capuzzi Season 5 Episode 187
The Author Factor Podcast
From Super Bowl Glory to the Operating Room: The Remarkable Story of Dr. John Frank
Show Notes Transcript

On episode 187 of The Author Factor Podcast I am having a conversation with hair restoration surgeon and author, Dr. John Frank.

John is a former Academic All American football player at Ohio State University, two-time Super Bowl champion with the San Francisco 49ers, and Board Certified Hair Restoration Surgeon.

Earlier this year, I worked closely with John to publish his first book, Two-Minute Warning: Winning the Game of Male Hair Loss.

John's remarkable journey from professional football stardom to being a world-renowned hair surgeon is a testament to the power of determination and the capacity for personal growth.

If you are a football fan or are a student of personal development, this is a powerful episode to check out!

Learn more about Dr. John Frank by visiting

For more details about our short, helpful book publishing program, visit

Mike Capuzzi [00:00:00]:

Welcome to another profitable episode of The Author Factor Podcast. I'm Mike Capuzzi, and I want to thank you for joining us. My guest today is my friend and client, Dr. John Frank. John is a former academic all American football player at Ohio State University, a two-time Super Bowl winning champion with the San Francisco 49ers. And today he's a board-certified hair restoration surgeon out of Columbus, Ohio, and New York City. He's the author of the book Two Minute Warning winning the Game of Male Hair Loss. John. Welcome to The Author Factor Podcast.

Dr. John Frank [00:00:34]:

Thanks so much. Good to be here. Where do we go?

Mike Capuzzi [00:00:38]:

Well, I guess first and foremost, you're okay if I call you John, not Dr. Frank, right? We established that many months ago that you're okay with yes. Yeah, well, listen, here's why I can.

Dr. John Frank [00:00:49]:

Call you Mike and not Mr. Capuzzi.

Mike Capuzzi [00:00:51]:

Yes. For this podcast, I'll allow that. Well, first of all, John, as you well know, and I think you would agree, you and I've basically created a friendship over the last seven or eight months. It's been that we've worked together. We have a lot of similar beliefs and backgrounds and stuff like that. I think you recall because when I first spoke with you, I didn't realize you were who you were with the 49ers. But as soon as you said it and shared your Wikipedia page, I remember watching you play back in the I'm an NFL guy, and I remember watching and I remember your story. You left the NFL at the height of your career right after the second Super Bowl win to pursue your dream of becoming a doctor. So I'm not going to steal your thunder. I do remember watching you play. It's amazing what you've done and what you're doing today. So I'm going to shut up for a second. John, why don't you share a bit about your background, where you've been? I think it's important to share a little bit of your football story because it was instrumental to where you are today.

Dr. John Frank [00:01:57]:

I'll be happy to share it. But first, I do want to comment on what you said as having a lot in common with you and the friendship that we've developed. And as I sit here and listen to that and realize just, I'm probably the biggest offender because I don't always realize I have a lot of friends and people that mean so much to me over the years and different careers and family and colleagues and professions and just random people that I've become friendly with. And when I was younger, I never really understood the value of friends. Now that I'm not younger, we'll leave it at that. It's really just something to really be treasured, and I don't want to get nostalgic or suck that air out of the conversation, but just the fact to be a friend is, gosh, it means a lot, and we have a lot in common. It's so funny. You've introduced me to a few people on some podcasts and getting a chance to talk about yourself, which I'm going to do for the benefit of this podcast. I hope the time goes by so quickly. I'm sure that we're going to start we've already started and it's going to be over in just a flash. But remembering me play in my story, it seems so just like that's a time warp, going from starting a podcast and talking about yourself and then in 20 or 30 or 40 minutes, it's over. It's an interesting phenomenon because I can't imagine that you would have remembered me playing because just because it's so funny. I know I played football college in the NFL, and you're in a stadium and people were cheering and I was a receiver. I'd catch a pass and I specifically remember you could just feel like this rush from the stands. People, even if they're not like it's not like the hugest game winning play, but you catch the when the ball is delivered, you have to focus on catching the ball. And then you're looking to make sure you don't get creamed, and you want to cream them, but in your mind, you hear this roar, this thing from the crowd, just like this rumbling. It's impossible to describe. I remember that very well. But as far as you having seen me playing on television or something, to me that's like you're out on TV. Like when we were kids, it was, hey, hey, you out there in you know, it's Mike. Oh, so I don't that's like some crazy thing. Like people remember me from playing. How could a maybe if you were in the stands. Okay, I get but like just a.

Mike Capuzzi [00:04:54]:

Funny I remember your story. It was the story of you leaving the NFL to become a doctor because there are NFL players that have become doctors now. We're talking the 80s, so you might have been early on. As far as you and I both know, though, and we haven't been proven otherwise, you're the only NFL player that was actively playing in the NFL while going to medical school. I mean, I have not come across anybody doing that.

Dr. John Frank [00:05:22]:

Well, I may have been it's really so funny. My story, for me, was just an inevitability. And you're playing in the NFL, and you're treated with special status. People are paying to watch you play a game. And for me, I always wanted to be a doctor. But it's kind of funny that I thought it was a big step up from being in the NFL to be a doctor. And whether it was just that feeling of making my mom proud or being of service to other people, legitimate service, I mean, of course you're making people happy when you're winning football games, and that's entertainment, but really, like to the core. But the sad thing is I remember when I retired from the NFL and back in 1989, after the Super Bowl, I really could have played more, and the team was surprised, but I gave them enough notice. I was friendly with the team. I'm always fond of the 49ers and the family that owns the team, and my players, my teammates, really, again, talk about friends. So when I retired, I was the starting tight end, and I gave them long enough notice so that they could prepare for the next season. And it's funny that if you want to talk about my skill level with the NFL, when I retired, they were bemoaning saying, well, what are we going to do? We don't have a tight end, and you can't do this. And I said, I'm telling you in advance, you're going to have to draft a tight end. I'm going to medical school. And then the phone rang, and it was Dwight Clark. And he said, I was just talking to the owner. He said he'll pay your way through medical school if you just stay another couple of years. And I said, no, it's a career decision. When I retired, I left them. I didn't want to leave them in the lurch, but they weren't in the lurch because I thought they may have been a little bit in the lurch because you have to feel good about yourself and how you're playing your own skills. But they weren't. They won the Super Bowl the next year, one of the most lopsided games ever. But I was doing something way more important, going to medical school and being a doctor. And shortly thereafter, a year or two later, I was out visiting a friend. I think I was doing an interview for a fellowship or something in Hollywood, in Los Angeles or Beverly Hills or Hollywood. And I remember that my wife's from La. And you know, Edith, and so she's very wholesome and down to earth. But La. It's just such a different environment. So I'm in this hotel, and I was single at the time, and we're both married and have young and young daughters. Mine are younger, but was in this hotel, and you're in Glitterland and Tinseltown. And I remember talking to some people and some girls and stuff, and they want to meet actors and rock stars. And I said, Well, I'm nice to meet you. What do you do? And my first reaction was to tell that I'm a medical doctor. I'm in medical school, and I wasn't getting any play for Kiss. That was like, okay, next guy. Who next? I should have said, well, but the thing is, I always felt like it was weird because I retired, wasn't in the NFL, so I didn't want to say I used to play in the NFL, so I'm a factor. No. Where's the producer? Where's the director? Where's the promoter? But it's been a good transition. I didn't know any better. I was very naive. I had a mentor when I was younger. Football, as great as it is where I came from, sometimes it gets, like, not as much notoriety as it should because there's great lessons in sports, particularly in football, unselfish team things and character development, et cetera. And I had a coach and a mentor, and when I was going off to college at Ohio State, not Penn State, which would have been great too. It was on my list. Mike, being a Penn Stater, I know you always dogged me out for the rivalry, but I'm very fond of Penn State. Have a lot of friends said, well, he gave me some tips because he was coaching me in high school. So when you go to college, if I come to visit you, if you're not in the practice field, then I want to find you in the library, and that's the only places I want to see. Mike, these things that came out of football are really useful. And I was writing the introduction for Gary White's upcoming book, and he really shares a lot in his book about the benefits of the military. And so sports is a little bit akin to the military, I think, in the training, you tell that to a football or an athlete, they may be offended, or you tell it to a Marine, they may be offended. But in my opinion, I think, and I don't know that much about the military other than I admire it very much and the people than the men and women that serve us. And so some of these lessons that came out of sports for me were super valuable. And you go through life with a different sort of a lens, the way you interact with people and in business and in medicine and family.

Mike Capuzzi [00:11:20]:

I think what was interesting, John, as I got to know you, was, first of all, it was always very clear to me as you were working on your book that you were always destined to be a doctor. Football was just sort of interim. It felt like this when we talked. And as you were writing, it was just sort of a means to an end. And you were a stud back in the days of playing. I mean, you were the captain on the Ohio State team. I think you still hold some records at Ohio State, which is testimony to your athletic proudness. But it was always very clear to me that your goal is always to be serving in the medical capacity. If you don't mind, John, share a little bit, and then I want to focus on your book author journey. But before we go there, you came out of medical school. Can you share a little bit of what you were doing for those first couple of years out of medical school and then what you're doing today and how that transition occurred?

Dr. John Frank [00:12:25]:

Well, first of all, I wrote the introduction for Paul White right?

Mike Capuzzi [00:12:29]:

That's right.

Dr. John Frank [00:12:29]:

Paul White, I wrote the introduction.

Mike Capuzzi [00:12:31]:

There is a Gary White, too, but you have his book, too.

Dr. John Frank [00:12:34]:

But yeah, Paul and then, you know, this transition from football yeah, whatever I was, it was just and the guys that I played with in the NFL, they're still like for me, it's a.

Mike Capuzzi [00:12:47]:


Dr. John Frank [00:12:47]:

I hope they don't listen to the podcast, but if I talk to Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott or Joe Montana or Steve Young or most of these guys, Tom Rathman, it's like my heart's beating. These were know, childhood heroes of mine. I mentioned that because when I made the transition from the NFL to medical school, it's because my parents had they made it very clear that for me, for a lot of people, and we had heroes. I grew up in Pittsburgh, and it used to be the city of champions. The Steelers were crushing it. The Pittsburgh Pirates were great, and we looked at these amazing things, but they always said that you need to go to school, you need to finish, you need to have something besides that. And look at the chances of you being in the NFL. It was always implanted in my head, and I remember being out, and I saw the retired players the years after they retired, the were down on your luck. And you and I were talking a moment ago about when your daughters go back to college, and they say goodbye. It's always a big downer for 24 hours. Leaving the NFL is a big downer for sometimes people for not just 24 hours, but 24 months or 24 years that will never go away. It's such a bang, it's such an explosion of your life that it's impossible to replace, and it's essential to carry on with your life and have a normal life. So I knew that, and I saw the players that were a year or two ahead of me, and they retired, and they'd hang around the facility, and it was really sad. And I'm sure that obviously that's the same for the veterans that are coming back. I've never really found the right organization, but it would be nice to assist, and do more for them. I made the transition. I retired from Super Bowl 23. I caught a pass in the winning drive of the game, and I was done, and I retired, and I started my second year of med school. By then, I had already finished the first year of med school at Ohio State's independent study program. The first year of medical school is all classroom, and so they had it on tapes at the time and on books nowadays online. I don't know how many medical schools do that. It was designed for people like me that had another career. There was five or six of us in that class. One of the guys was a musician and a violinist, and he was building high end violins. He was whittling the wood and putting the strings together. That was a career for him. So there were a few of us, so they developed this independent study program. So that was the first year of med school. And I remember I did that in the offseason. Mike, we won Super Bowl 23. And all those experiences were eye opening. The moment you walk on the field, you're drafted. As an eye-opening experience. I didn't have enough money to have cable TV in college. We strung a $5.25 foot extension for our phone into the neighbor's apartment during class. It was like the first time I ever missed a class. And I sat in the neighbor's apartment watching the draft with our phone that was strung through the windows in the spring, waiting for the 49ers to call. And they called, and it was exciting. So all these new experiences that you can't imagine, and one after the other, you win the Super Bowl, and I was a rookie. We win the Super Bowl.

Mike Capuzzi [00:16:42]:

By the way.

Dr. John Frank [00:16:42]:

You won my rookie year, and we won my fifth year. And the next day, they send you a ticket to go to the White House to meet the president. And then you come back to San Francisco, and there's a ticker tape parade down Market Street, and hundreds, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of people are in a ticker tape parade. This is weird. We didn't just come back from Germany. What's going on here, France? It was kind of ironic to me, but I imbibed it. I soaked it in the confetti's flying out of the windows. You're on a balloon riding through down Market Street. And it was unbelievable. Two days later, my mom was visiting me. She came to the Super Bowl. It was in Palo Alto, and she's like, okay, let's pack it up. Packing up the apartment, putting stuff in boxes. And a week later, I was back in medical school. And I did that for normally, first year of medical school. It's called the first year because it's a one-year endeavor. For me, it was a little longer. It took me several years to get through. So by the time I retired, I had finished a year of medical school. And it was a struggle because I was really one of the top, top students. Not the top. I had people in high school that had better grades than me. I think I ranked 54th out of 700, and that was a good rating, but it was for just hard work. And then in college, I was one of the top students. But then in medical school, now it's like, real. Like, you're getting people from all over the world to come learn medicine. And here I was, a full-time football player. So my standing went down and down and down and down. I barely could get through medical school. It took five or years of residency just being pounded by mentors and disciplinarians and pounded it took years to get to the level. By the time I graduated from my residency and did fellowships, I was back to feeling confident about my skills. And really it's such a high skill. I can compete medical skills and surgical skills with, I feel mike anybody in the world at this point. But that was just through years of trying and failing and succeeding and failing again and learning. So it took a long time. I never really saw myself as gifted. I just had a goal in mind and never lost sight of that. And I've failed a lot along the way and still fail. And still fail. So you mentioned you started the podcast by saying we have a lot in common. My biggest focus and things are most important to me are my family and I still fail there too. But you make mistakes, and you learn and you're better off. So there was a great coach at Ohio State people tend to not remember in Ohio. Everybody remembers Woody Hayes and he was a great figure, a legend. He'd say the Ohio State Michigan game is a tremendous rivalry and years ago in the think, Ohio State hadn't beaten Michigan in a long time. And they asked Woody Hayes, he said, well, how are you going to stand up to them? You haven't beaten them in a number of years. And he said, well, listen, they put their pants on one leg at a time just like we do. And that started a tradition at Ohio State called the Gold pants club. And it's true, it's true, it's true about know, you put your pant legs on one leg at a time and you go out and you make mistakes, and you fall, you get up. That brings us to where we are today, writing a book about my hair restoration.

Mike Capuzzi [00:20:50]:

Right, well, you kind of leapfrog though, though, from when you got out of medical school because you weren't doing hair restoration at the beginning. Right. So just quickly, if you don't mind, what were you doing and what are you doing today?

Dr. John Frank [00:21:03]:

I became abort after struggling in medical school and residencies. Finally when I got to the end of my residency, an extra time and extra years and I finally finished, I knew what I was doing and I took the boards, the ear, nose odor laryngology boards, and I crushed it. I knew as much or more than anybody in the room. I trained and I became a board-certified otolaryngologist and practiced in that area. But I didn't like the system. I didn't like the doctors being subject to the insurance and to liability and medical records and the rate and the speed at which we had to go through and see people, 25, 30 people in the morning. And doctors just didn't seem that happy and somewhat incomplete. And it was off putting and disillusioned. So I went into plastic surgery, facial plastic surgery, and learned how to do all the facial plastic surgery, eyelid surgery, and called blepharoplasty, facelift surgery, nose surgery, neck surgery, ear surgery. I had been a skull based surgeon in New York City and just was looking for something to just improve the quality of care and more importantly, the experience that people have going to doctors. And I was looking for that in plastic surgery, and I found that there was an opportunity to I found my niche in hair transplant, facial hair, scalp hair, all part of my area of expertise. And now, for the last almost 20 years, maybe even more, of being a hair surgeon. I'm proud, and I don't think it's bragging when it's true that I'm a world expert in surgery of hair follicles of the scalp, the eyebrows, and the face. That was my progression from ear, nose, and throat and facial plastic surgery to hair restoration. And that's where I am today. That's where I am today.

Mike Capuzzi [00:23:16]:

Well, and besides all that, you're also a student of marketing. You've become one, and you're becoming even more so. I know you're a fan of Dan Kennedy, and I know you've worked with a lot of folks over the course of your years in the direct response marketing world and mutual. Well, a colleague of Mike, someone you were doing some work with, I believe, or whatever, connected us last year, and we got working on your book, which ultimately became Two Minute Warning, which was ultimately the forward was by your teammate Joe Montana. So I don't want to gloss over that. It's kind of cool. I can remember on one of our calls, and I've shared this with a lot of folks not you specifically, but other folks talking about you. I can remember on the call we were talking about, well, John, do you want to have a forward? And I know there's probably either a well-known client or maybe somebody from your NFL days. And I remember very distinctly, John, you pausing. And, you know, would Joe Montana or maybe Steve Young or Jerry Rice or Ronnie Lott, would any of those guys be a good forward in your typical nonchalant John Frank way? And I was like, oh, my know anybody who's writing a book that had that kind of pedigree? So it was neat that Joe said yes, and that's kind of cool. So let's talk about why a book now, this is not a textbook. This is a book to help specifically men who are losing their hair. A bit of a contrarian viewpoint, and I've gotten to know that's sort of your style. You're definitely more of a contrarian. So why did you decide, John, to invest the time, energy, and money to do a book?

Dr. John Frank [00:25:06]:

Well, I want to give a shout out to Keith Lee because I think he was the one that introduced us. And a lot of people I'd been to some marketing seminars, particularly a mastermind group in Cleveland with Ron Sheets. And when I presented my story, it seemed like everybody seemed to think that I needed to have a book. And I had thought about writing a book earlier, but I didn't know how to do it. And Keith said no. Mike Capuzzi So when we talked, I thought it was a reasonable endeavor. We got started and you cashed a check already, right? I hope so, yeah. So we got started on the book. I thought everything really made sense. And then I found Mike. I enjoyed writing and I knew that I had to get it done. I had to get it done for me. But probably more importantly, I felt like you were going to come track hunt me down if I didn't get it done. So that's an important thing. You were a coach and writing it. I enjoyed writing. I was getting up early in the morning, as you know, just to get it done because I'm so busy operating and doing other things with my family and I enjoyed writing. You sent me some. I had studied Dan's style and Gary Halpert's style and different authors and what's an effective way to read. But you kept if I whenever when I was struggling, you'd say, John, write you're talking to me. Write like you're talking to me. And I think it's really important because now that I'm putting together an investor's pitch deck for expanding our business, our clinics, beyond the two that we have, I constantly have to remind myself I'm writing for someone. You're really writing for a person. And so I think I've already given you some nice testimonials. I'm not here to really do that, but it's just so important. You hear about writing partners, you hear about publishers, and I couldn't have done it without I enjoyed writing it. People that read the book say it's well written. Most people I send it to don't read it. That's just human nature. But the ones that do read it, I haven't had really any thumbs down. And I like reading it from time to time just because it makes me feel good that it's valuable. And it's helped me crystallize the business I'm in. It's been like the start, the beginning. I told you that when we started. And you said, John, you got to put an outline together first. And you came up with an outline and I totally reworked it, if you recall. And you're like, what are you doing? And I said, Just trust me, Mike, this is how it should be. And you're like, it took a while and you said, yeah, that makes me so now I'm proud of the book. I'm proud. And it's been a launch pad for me as far as a business plan goes for my business. That's really important.

Mike Capuzzi [00:28:33]:

First of all, I said this, and I wasn't just blowing smoke. You are a very good writer. I mean, you tell stories, you have a contrarian point of view on a lot of things that a lot of people sort of take as the gospel when it comes to hair loss and sort of spin it on its head. But it doesn't matter what I think. Proof is always in the pudding. And I wouldn't be too dismissive whether it's a short book. That's what we specialize in, so people may be reading it. I've come to learn over the years, John, you will never know. 99% of the people who've read the book, you'll never know. But it's out there. It's helping people. I know it caught the eye. I'm going to let you tell the story because we just found out today. It's kind of cool that you sent a copy to Dan sort of as a thank you, because I know he was part of the motivation to do this. You got a fax today.

Dr. John Frank [00:29:25]:

I heard Kennedy liked the book, so he has a seminar, a meeting coming up in a couple of weeks, and he requested 125 books to add value to his gift bag, which is neat, and it makes sense. He thinks it's a good enough book that he wants to add value to the people that are coming to this whole mentality of direct marketing, which I'm just learning.

Mike Capuzzi [00:29:55]:

Well, the whole seminar is on building influence and authority and creating impact. That's what the seminar is about. And he felt that your book was an excellent example of a traditional business owner, if you will, not some Internet marketing person, which is a lot easier for those kinds of people to really leverage the power of a book. So congratulations on that. Hey, listen, John, this has been good. I do appreciate I've been wanting to interview you. We've gone a little longer, so this will be an extended episode. So if somebody is listening and they're a guy that's losing their hair, or maybe it's a woman, a wife, a daughter, somebody who's got a guy in their life that's losing their hair, where can they learn more about you? Where can they get a copy of your book?

Dr. John Frank [00:30:45]:

You can go to and read the book. If you have hair loss, this book is supervised. This could save you tens of thousands of dollars.

Mike Capuzzi [00:30:59]:

And by the way, we should also mention you do have a lot of patients that are women. That's a whole other segment of your market you serve. But if there's women that are losing their hair, the want eyebrows, they pluck their eyebrows. Anyway, John, this has been great. I want to just, again, thank you. You're a tremendous guy. Just salt of the earth.

Dr. John Frank [00:31:21]:

I'm nothing. You're a tremendous guy. You've helped me a ton. You've taught me a ton. I told you this 40 minute or however long was going to feel like three minutes. And for you, it may have felt like 3 hours, but for me, it felt like three minutes.

Mike Capuzzi [00:31:36]:

All right, well, listen, hopefully for our listeners. It felt important enough that they're going to want to learn more about you. So, John Frank, the main site is If you go to, you can go right to his book page. So, John, thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Dr. John Frank [00:31:53]:

Best to you, Mike, and everyone in your family.

Mike Capuzzi [00:31:56]:

Thank you.

Dr. John Frank [00:31:56]:

You're welcome.