Healthcast: NFL mental health


Former Heisman Trophy winner and star running back Herschel Walker is helping others run to daylight while urging them to get help as he did.

Now a successful businessman, Walker is also an advocate for behavioral health.

“You know I didn’t start out looking like this. I started out as a little kid and my mom told me I was big boned,” Walker said.

At just 57-years-old Herschel Walker looks like he could still strap on a football helmet or headline at a comedy club.

“I mean I was fat,” Walker said. “So it scared me to death because I knew that wasn’t me.”

It was no laughing matter when Walker realized during life after football that anger was controlling his life.

“And I think I used anger as a coping mechanism through athletics.”

Walker got help with his struggles and was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, which means he was having too many personalities.

“People hid who they are and the trouble going on in their life,” Walker said. “They hide their sadness and I think it’s okay to share it. I think it’s okay to share it and it doesn’t matter what people say about it.”

“So then you start thinking about how many people do we know that are suffering from the same type of things but have squashed it,” Hurbert Yarborough, coordinator of Faces and Voices of Recovery said.

Walker signed pictures, autographs, and posed with upstate mental health leaders. He also bared his soul hoping others will speak up about mental issues

“It’s no shame to ask for help, a bigger man is not a man that just take it on himself,” Walker said. “A bigger man is a man that can admit his problem and shortcoming, but then he works to make it better.”

There are no medications to treat dissociative identity disorder. 

However, those individuals who also suffer from depression or anxiety may benefit from treatment with antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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