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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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Former Packer Great Brings Fitness Approach To Peshtigo

The philosophy is simple: physical fitness is the key to athletic success and longevity. The amount of smart preparation an athlete puts into his or her routine plays a big role on game day and beyond.

It's a philosophy wholly endorsed by local health professionals who lend a helping hand to the area's youth sports programs. Last Wednesday at the Peshtigo football field, Mark Husen of Bellin Health, usually a fixture on the sidelines of any Bulldogs sporting event, welcomed former Green Bay Packer running back Ahman Green to the field for a morning of instruction from a pro who spent more than a decade in the National Football League.

"I can talk to these athletes about this stuff until I'm blue in the face, their parents can also," joked Husen. "But now you get someone in front of them who has experienced success at every level of the game from Pop Warner to the pros and it tends to resonate a little more with them."

The "wow" factor quickly dissipated Wednesday morning as Green settled the large group of young athletes in with a very practical speech about how important the simple things like stretching and workout recovery were to his pro-football longevity. He told a story about a high-profile former teammate of his (non-Packer) who once questioned the amount of time Green dedicated to his fitness regimen. The superstar in question didn't see the logic of spending so much time on something like stretching and he didn't feel the need to incorporate it into his own in-season regimen.

That still-active player has been dogged for much of his professional career by nagging injuries, the type of injuries that a more focused workout regimen, the type of program promoted by Green and his new venture out of Green Bay called D1 Sports Training, could have helped prevent.

D1 Sports Training, which has partnered locally with Bellin Health for therapy services, is a comprehensive new program for athletes looking to stay in peak physical shape and it's an approach that is picking up steam all across the country as former and current professional athletes like Peyton Manning, AJ Hawk, Herschel Walker, Jason Witten and Randall Cobb are bringing specialized D1 facilities to cities coast to coast.

After the quick debriefing from one of Green Bay's most prolific rushers of all time, the athletes in attendance hit the field and were walked through some of the D1 program's basic drills.

"I'm pretty sure that Ahman's own warm-up routine from his playing days had to last 20 minutes," Husen said. "He was always preparing and he was very detailed with it. He knew that if you did these things, it was going to pay off. He had a great message. If you put your time in and you're willing to do all the things to put the odds in your favor, you're going to have success."


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