At 54 years old, Herschel Walker still has a lot of fight in him. Yesterday, the Heisman trophy winner and former Olympian took that rumble-ready spirit to Washington to help lobby for the PHIT Act and make fitness activities more affordable, especially for kids.
It’s a cause that’s been dear to his heart since 2001, when Walker successfully helped pass legislation to keep physical education in schools. Since then, he’s been a regular fixture on Capitol Hill each spring for the National Health Through Fitness Day, sponsored by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association.
Walker said his goal this past week was to remind members of Congress of the value of physical fitness. “People complain about the obesity problem in this country, but there’s not enough talk about prevention,” he said. “I want to get these people to think about our kids — the kids are our future. If we get them to do this for the kids, America will be in good shape.”
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The former NFL star and MMA fighter weighed in on other topics:
Why is physical fitness such an important issue for you?
“A lot of people don’t know this, but I grew up overweight. When I was a boy, a coach in my hometown, Tom Jordan, used to pick me up after church on Sundays and take me to the track. He taught me the isometric workout that I still use today. It got me fit and gave me the confidence to do well in school and become valedictorian. And to accomplish a lot of other goals in my life, like go to the Olympics [on the 1992 bobsled team] and start doing MMA.”
Are you still competing in MMA?
“I would love to do one more fight before the year is over. I’ve been very fortunate in being part of the MMA world. But I think it’s time to leave it up to the younger guys.”
You said recently that you believed you could still play in the NFL. Still think so?
“I don’t know if I could do every play, but I could probably still do a third-down run or handle some returns. The game has just changed so much since I was playing.”
So what’s next for you?
“I’m blessed to have a 16-year-old son at home, so my focus is on him. Every parent wants to bring a good adult into the world. And even if you don’t have kids, you can be an example to someone. That’s what I want to do, to help him and be an example to young people.”