DuJuan Harris hits home with PSA


Green Bay Packer fans are a hearty lot.  Men go bare chested in subzero weather and the ladies sport their Packers Bikini tops to equal the men.  We no know bounds when it comes to our intestinal fortitude to take on and defeat the harsh realities of December football at Lambeau Field.

In the end though, we are all human and we all have frailties.  DuJuan Harris helped us to remember that.

DeJuan Harris post surgery to remove a cyst for his lung. Photo courtesy of DeJuan Harris via Instagram.

Harris, who has been absent during the recent minicamps, posted a picture of himself and tweeted, “EVERYTHING IS FINE, (Doctors) found a fist sized cyst on my lung next to my heart. Shows the importance of getting routine check-ups, GET YOURS!”

That right there is your medical dagger (apologies to Wayne Larrivee for stealing that).  Get your routine check-up.  So often we applaud athletes for taking a stance and supporting research for one disease or another and that is great, but in this case, the message that Harris is sending out is just as important.

Get checked out.

Regular preventative health care can and will make a difference in not only the quality of life but can save your life.  Yes, I know this sounds like a broken record but in Wisconsin, we sometimes had difficulty accepting the fact that one too many beer and brat will not hurt us.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, “heart disease is the number one cause of death, and stroke is the number three cause of death” in Wisconsin.  These cardiovascular-realted diseases include high blood pressure.  The American Heart Association for statistics from 2010 has heart disease and strokes as the number two and three killers in Wisconsin.  So the leading causes of death in Wisconsin are issues that can, with proper medical intervention, be prevented.

Harris clearly tried to get this point across with his tweets and I applaud him for this as reaching out to the public to remind them of the need for check-ups is something that most of us won’t consider until something is seriously wrong and forces us to go.

Many of you may ask why or how this relates to Packers football or why I would take up valuable space to reiterate something so simple.  Well, besides the fact that Harris’s health scare is a reminder of what we need to do now, the importance of getting a routine check-up and being preventative with your health care is something important to me.

The author celebrating Super Bowl XLV at his heaviest. Photo credit: Gloria Krejci.

Pro-active health care saved my life.  I was one of the many Packers fans who felt the need to have that extra package of brats with the family-sized bag of chips and a 12-pack of soda.  A guy named Ronald McDonald was my best friend and a late night pizza helped put me to sleep.  Over time this added up.  In fact it added up to 330 pounds, type two diabetes, sleep apnea and a list of other medical issues that had me on the fast track to an early death.

It took good doctors and the support of friends and family to help me to get healthy and shed a lot of weight.

Taking control of my health has allowed me to be more active. Photo Credit: Gloria Krejci

I may not be an athlete like DuJuan Harris, but I was fortunate enough to have services at my disposal to help me get healthy.  For those of you who will say that you don’t have or cannot afford health care, well there are plenty of services out there to assist you.  I know that as a fact as  most of my health issues came after I had lost my job.  There are numerous free health clinics and services available to assist you.

So as our Packers season starts getting serious, please take the time to get serious with yourself and take some steps to make sure you are healthy.  Watching Packers football can be a strenuous activity that can lead to elevated blood pressure so make sure that you are healthy enough to enjoy this season, because sometimes it takes an athlete to remind us that our health is the most important thing that we have and we need to care for it.