Cross HS grad and former Chicago Bear helping kids at his old sc - WCIV-TV | ABC News 4 - Charleston News, Sports, Weather

Cross HS grad and former Chicago Bear helping kids at his old school

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Rod Wilson with students in the hallway at Cross HS (WCIV) Rod Wilson with students in the hallway at Cross HS (WCIV)
Wilson during his time at USC Wilson during his time at USC

By Scott Eisberg
seisberg@abcnews4.com

CROSS, S.C. (WCIV) - For many football players, giving up the game and the life that follows is a challenge.  Cross High grad Rod Wilson is tackling that challenge head on, and making the most of life after football. 

Wilson is now back home and making the most of his time, and the community that he grew up in is certainly benefitting.  Giving up a career is never easy, but the time comes for all football players.

"I do miss hitting people.  I do miss football, but now my passion is helping kids the best I can. Giving back to the community the best I can," says Wilson who retired after the 2010 season.

"In six years, I was injured a few times, I had a broken radius in my right arm.  I tore a hamstring, had a bad knee, so there were a lot of factors.  My last season, 2010, the lockout hurt me and about 300 other free agent veterans.  I decided, I went to USC, I got an education there are a lot of things I can do, so I decided to move on. I started a foundation," he said.

His foundation is where the healthy living initiative comes in.  Rod's mission is getting healthy choice vending machines into schools.  He gives part of the proceeds to childhood obesity prevention. 

He's truly dishing out a difference, one healthy snack at a time with the new machine he's installed at Cross High School. 

"I have a lot of diabetes in my family. We have heart disease. My grandpa died early of a heart attack, so it's real close to me,"said Wilson.

Getting through to the kids in the hall is a bit easier since he was in their shoes a decade ago.

"On top of the machine is a screen to educate kids with health tips.  We're trying to offer everything better than the junk the kids have been eating," he said. 

Healthy living, made him a living, doing what he loves; now Rod Wilson is giving the place he loves the gift of health. 

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