After nearly 30 years as a gridiron coach, Roy Hall feared being sidelined permanently because excessive weight was interfering with his game plan. The Jeannette Jayhawks head coach had struggled with his size for more than a decade, and had a scorecard full of failed dieting attempts to show for it.
When Hall, 51, missed out on seeing his star quarterback Terrelle Pryor call the plays for the Ohio State Buckeyes because of the physical effort it would take to reach the stands, he knew he was ready for a time-out. "I'm a football fanatic, and it was killing me to miss out on important moments in the lives of my players."
Hall turned to the Bariatric Center at Excela Health. "I had reservations at first," said Hall. "Weight loss surgery seemed like cheating, but Dr. Z (Excela Health bariatric surgeon Mark Zelkovic, MD), explained that surgery is just a tool and it wouldn't be easy to reach my goal. He said if it was easy, everyone would do it. That made sense because that's what I tell my players: if football were easy, everybody would play."
Just as the seasoned coach doesn't talk about his playbook outside the locker room, Hall was quiet about his weight loss until people started noticing the change. "Family, friends and acquaintances started cheering me on – 'Great job, Roy ... Keep up the good work' - they were really supportive."
Since he began the Bariatric Center's program, Hall has shed more than 130 pounds, "I've lost 10 pounds more than the heaviest dumbbell in the weight room. I dropped an entire person!" The health benefits are significant. Hall had been in consultation with Excela Health orthopedic surgeon Christopher Bellicini, DO, regarding the need for knee replacement surgery. "Dr. Bellicini told me that for every pound you lose, you take 10 pounds of pressure off your knees. That's huge."
Hall knows coaches should be good role models, and he hopes his example will inspire some of his players to take better care of themselves. "The football parents' club members know my story and that I'm here for my players. They can see where I've been and what was necessary to change my life. Losers can be big winners when it comes to your health."