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

Wilson during his time at USC

By Scott

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.{}