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Press release content from Accesswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.
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Press release content from Accesswire. The AP news staff was not involved in its creation.

STARTING LINEUP ANNOUNCED FOR NFL ALUMNI WELLNESS CHALLENGE Eleven NFL alums join season-long program within “Huddle Up: Let’s Talk Obesity” campaign, advised by Dr. Oz and football legend Dick Butkus

August 26, 2021 GMT
MOUNT LAUREL, NJ / ACCESSWIRE / August 26, 2021 / A lineup of 11 NFL alumni from across the country have committed to a six-month, medically supervised challenge to improve their health and quality of life.With a combined 92 years in the NFL ...
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MOUNT LAUREL, NJ / ACCESSWIRE / August 26, 2021 / A lineup of 11 NFL alumni from across the country have committed to a six-month, medically supervised challenge to improve their health and quality of life.With a combined 92 years in the NFL ...
1 of 3
MOUNT LAUREL, NJ / ACCESSWIRE / August 26, 2021 / A lineup of 11 NFL alumni from across the country have committed to a six-month, medically supervised challenge to improve their health and quality of life.With a combined 92 years in the NFL ...

MOUNT LAUREL, NJ / ACCESSWIRE / August 26, 2021 / A lineup of 11 NFL alumni from across the country have committed to a six-month, medically supervised challenge to improve their health and quality of life.

With a combined 92 years in the NFL and 11 Super Bowl rings, virtually all of the 11 retired players have faced challenges maintaining a healthy weight and lifestyle as the stadium lights faded. With support from family, spouses and teammates, each team member has committed to an individualized improvement plan after completing a thorough health analysis.

The NFL Alumni Wellness Challenge is part of the group’s ” Huddle Up: Let’s Talk Obesity ” initiative that began in 2020 to strengthen the health of former players and create broader awareness about obesity as a disease and its impact on long-term wellness. Challenge participants are supported by a team of medical and lifestyle experts, including Dr. Mehmet Oz who played football at Harvard University. Also supporting the effort as a player advisor is Dick Butkus, the legendary linebacker who advocates for early heart disease screening after a routine scan 20 years ago identified an urgent need for bypass surgery, saving his life.

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“Nearly every participant reported difficulty in managing their weight after retirement and is motivated by wanting to enjoy a longer and better life,” said Russ Allen, medical research and partnerships director with the NFL Alumni Association. “Even though this is a friendly challenge, each person is very competitive and driven to achieve their unique goals. Collectively, the group wants to end the challenge weighing significantly less while having fewer ailments, more consistent healthy eating patterns, less depression and guilt, fewer interventions and feeling more optimistic about their future wellness.”

Wellness Challenge participants include:

  • Ottis Anderson, 64, Running Back, Super Bowl XXV MVP
  • Russell Maryland, 52, Defensive Tackle, Three-Time Super Bowl Champion
  • Derek Kennard, 58, Guard and Center, Super Bowl Champion
  • Roman Oben, 48, Offensive Tackle, Super Bowl Champion
  • Tony Casillas, 57, Defensive Tackle, Two-Time Super Bowl Champion
  • Michael Bankston, 51, Defensive Tackle and End
  • Stephen Baker, 56, Wide Receiver, Super Bowl Champion
  • Cory Proctor, 38, Offensive Guard
  • Darryl Clack, 57, Running Back
  • Lee Rouson, 58, Running Back, Two-Time Super Bowl Champion
  • David Blaha, 68, Offensive Center

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“Obesity is a health issue that can lead to other major illnesses and ultimately shorten your lifespan,” said Ottis Anderson, who rushed for more than 10,000 yards and 86 touchdowns for the Cardinals and Giants. “You want to be around for your grandkids, your kids, your family, so it’s important to commit to whatever you need to keep you here longer.”

“This is day one to a better life,” said Russell Maryland, the first pick of the 1991 draft who amassed 375 tackles for the Cowboys, Raiders and Packers. “I told my wife and three kids about this wellness challenge and they told me I need to take part. I have been blessed to have 52 years but I don’t know how many more I have ahead. It was easy to keep weight off when playing, but when those playing days are over, you can be in for a rude awakening.”

About 40 percent of NFL alumni are thought to be living with excess weight and related health factors. Overall, about two-thirds of U.S. adults struggle with obesity and excess weight.

To learn more about the 2021 NFL Alumni Wellness Challenge and the “Huddle Up: Let’s Talk Obesity” initiative, please visit https://wellnesschallenge.nflalumni.org.

The Wellness Challenge and the larger Huddle Up: Let’s Talk Obesity campaign are made possible through the support of Novo Nordisk Inc.

NFL Alumni Association

The NFL Alumni Association was founded in 1967 and is the oldest and most recognizable national organization of retired athletes. NFL Alumni consists of former players, coaches, executives, spouses, cheerleaders and associate members. NFL Alumni’s dual mission is “Caring for Kids” by giving back to local youth charities through 39 chapters and “Caring for Our Own” by serving members and their families. Alumni are offered a diverse package of wellness, business, career and legal services to help members be healthy, productive and connected. More information is at www.nflalumni.org

SOURCE: Butkus Foundation

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