June is Men’s Health Month, a time set aside each year to remind men about the importance of pro-active preventive and early detection strategies in living a long and healthy life. June also salutes Father’s Day, and the contribution that fathers and father figures make in the lives of their children and families. This month Men’s Health Network and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society honor a dad who is no stranger to challenges both on and off the field, running back legend Earl Campbell.
A Pro Football Hall of Fame Member, Campbell has been called “the greatest player that ever suited up” by former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys coach Barry Switzer. The Heisman Trophy winner rushed for more than 1,000 yards in five of his first six seasons in the NFL and played in five Pro Bowls. At his best when with the NFL, Campbell ran for 1,934 yards, the second best rushing performance in pro football at that time.
Known as unstoppable on the football field, Campbell ran into a challenge off the field that tapped into a whole new area of determination when his son Tyler, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007 at the age of 19. Tyler had followed in his father’s footsteps and was a running back at San Diego State when he was diagnosed. While Tyler had to give up the dream of playing football professionally, with the support and encouragement of his dad, Tyler has gone on to accomplish a lot in his young life including graduating with a business degree and marrying his college sweetheart, Shana.
According to the National MS Society, multiple sclerosis (or MS) is a chronic, often disabling disease that attacks the central nervous system. There are at least 400,000 people in the U.S. living with the disease and every hour someone is newly diagnosed. The progress, severity, and specific symptoms of MS are unpredictable and vary from one person to another; they can range from mild, such as numbness in the limbs to more severe, such as paralysis or loss of vision.
The impact of MS can also go beyond the person living with the disease affecting all those who love and care for him. MS can bring new stress and challenges to a family’s daily life. It can also enrich relationships and bring people closer together, as it did for Earl and Tyler.
Tyler has become an active ambassador for the National MS Society and is passionate about raising awareness for the disease to help bring us closer to a world free of multiple sclerosis.
“I view my MS diagnosis as a blessing,” Tyler said. “I now have the opportunity to share my experience to help others living with this disease and make an impact on the MS community.”
Earl is encouraging his son with each step in his journey and supports his efforts to find a cure.
The Unstoppable Earl Campbell Warner Bros. tribute limited edition, the catalyst for what has become a National effort to raise awareness and funds for MS, has Earl back on the field alongside the famous Looney Tunes characters with the goal of stopping the disease in honor of his son. The numbered limited editions are personally signed by Earl and a portion of every sale goes to support the National MS Society. For more information and to view the art, visit www.theunstoppableearlcampbell.org.
“As a father, I am proud to rally behind my son and join his fight to find a cure,” Earl Campbell said.
This Men’s Health Month, Men’s Health Network and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society raise awareness of MS and honor Earl Campbell and all the Fathers who are unsung heroes providing endless support to their families each and every day.
To learn more about Men’s Health Month visit www.menshealthmonth.org. To learn more about the Campbell Project for MS, visit www.proplayerfoundation.org and about multiple sclerosis, go to: www.nationalmssociety.org