John Frank (American football)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
John Frank
Position: Tight end
Personal information
Born: (1962-04-17) April 17, 1962 (age 56)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Career information
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 1984 / Round: 2 / Pick: 56
Career history
Career NFL statistics
Player stats at
Player stats at PFR

John E. Frank (born April 17, 1962) is an American physician and former football player. He played college football as a Tight end at Ohio State University and professionally in the National Football League (NFL) with the San Francisco 49ers from 1984 to 1988. Frank was selected by the 49ers in the second round of the 1984 NFL Draft and won two Super Bowls with the team.

Early years[edit]

Frank was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Alan Frank and Barbara Sheck Frank, and is Jewish.[1] He attended Hoover Elementary School in Mt. Lebanon, Pennsylvania, Jefferson Junior High School, and Mt. Lebanon High School in suburban Pittsburgh, graduating in 1980.

He was an All-State tight end in high school, but because of his strong interest in science and medicine, he turned down offers to attend and play college football at the University of Southern California,[citation needed] Yale University[citation needed] and the University of Virginia[citation needed] in order to enroll at Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. David Schuller, chairman of the Department of Otolaryngology in the medical school at Ohio State, helped convince Frank that he could be successful both academically and athletically.[citation needed]


Prior to enrolling at Ohio State University, he worked in Dr. Thomas Starzl’s canine surgical laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. There, they were developing the optimum cryopreservative solutions for liver transplantation.

At Ohio State, he played college football and became a two-time Academic All American, setting a school record for receptions by a tight end (121) in 1982 and 1983.

With David Schuller at Ohio State, he co-authored several research papers investigating the best treatments for pediatric croup and the work was published in the Laryngoscope.[2]

Athletically at Ohio State, Frank was the starting tight end from 1981 to 83 and caught more passes than any other tight end in the history of the school. He was honored as a two-time Academic All-American, became the team’s most valuable player, and was selected as a member of the All Century Ohio State Football Team and Ohio State’s Varsity Hall of Fame.[3]

While finishing at Ohio State, he was invited to attend the first round of the National Football League (NFL) Combine in Indianapolis in 1984, but declined in order to continue studying for his final exams. In June 1984 he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from Ohio State.

College statistics[edit]

  • 1980: 5 catches for 65 yards.[4]
  • 1981: 45 catches for 449 yards and 3 TD.
  • 1982: 26 catches for 326 yards and 2 TD.
  • 1983: 45 catches for 641 yards and 4 TD.

Medical school[edit]

Frank had already been accepted into several medical schools, but decided to enroll at Ohio State University College of Medicine because they had an independent study program which allowed flexibility to continue playing in the NFL while completing the first year of medical school. They also offered a deferred enrollment into medical school, but Frank chose to attend medical school during his first NFL off-season.

During medical school, he continued researching diseases of the head and neck and microsvascular surgery under the direction of Dr. Michael Sullivan at Ohio State, as well as the Gait Analysis laboratory.

NFL career[edit]

Frank was selected in the second round of the 1984 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. During his first season, he played as a reserve tight end behind Russ Francis, and as a specialist, while the team went 18–1 as they defeated the Miami Dolphins in Super Bowl XIX. He injured his left elbow during the NFC Championship victory of the Chicago Bears, and therefore saw limited time in Super Bowl XIX.

During his five-year career, he caught 65 passes for 662 yards and became the starting tight end during his fourth and fifth seasons.[5] In Super Bowl XXIII he caught two passes, including a key pass thrown by Joe Montana during the winning touchdown drive.[6]

Following the game and during what was considered to be the height of his professional football career, he announced his retirement to devote himself full-time to medical school. The vacated tight end position was filled by future All-Pro tight end Brent Jones in 1989. The Forty Niners also drafted Wesley Walls in the second round of the 1989 draft.

Israeli Bobsled Team[edit]

After leaving the NFL, at the age of 40, along with Aaron Zeff of San Francisco, John co-founded the Israeli Bobsled Team.[7] in 2002. The team placed in the Bobsleigh America’s Cup, World Cup, and World Championship competitions in Innsbruck (Igls), Austria and Konigssee, Germany; however they missed the cut for the XX Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

After the NFL[edit]

After retiring from football, Frank earned his M.D. from Ohio State in 1992. He is an otolaryngologist, board-certified by the American Academy of Otolaryngology and the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery. In 2009, he became a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and in 2010 he became an Assistant Professor of Clinical Otolarygology at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons. He has performed over 2,000 hair transplant procedures in Northern California and New York City since 1998, and in 2006 he opened Anapelli Hair Clinic in New York City, specializing in surgical hair transplantation as well as biocapillation.[8][9]

Frank married Edith Villarreal from Los Angeles, California, on April 27, 2007, at a small wedding held at the Fours Seasons Hotel in Chicago. They have three children, Samuel (2008), Elianna (2010), and Julia (2013). They currently reside in Columbus, Ohio.

Halls of Fame[edit]

In 1998, Frank was inducted into the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame.

Frank, who is Jewish, was inducted into the National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 2006.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Day by Day in Jewish Sports History - Bob Wechsler - Google Books
  2. ^ "How I do it: Head and neck and plastic surgery: Maxillary removal and reinsertion for improved access to anterior cranial base tumors". The Laryngoscope. 102: 203–212. February 1992. doi:10.1288/00005537-199202000-00017.
  3. ^ "The Top 50 Ohio State Football Players in Buckeye History". May 10, 2010.
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on May 18, 2015. Retrieved May 15, 2015.
  5. ^ "NFL Players John Frank".
  6. ^ "The 1989 Super Bowl XXIII & One of the Longest Drives in NFL History".
  7. ^ "Israeli Bobsled Team". Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  8. ^ "Anapelli Hair Transplant Clinic". Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  9. ^ "What Is Biocapillation?". Retrieved January 12, 2011.
  10. ^ Jewish Sports Hall of Fame

External links[edit]