Health Care

New effort aims to help former football players trim down

Many high school football players, especially the linemen, bulk up to play and often have trouble bulking back down when their playing careers are over.

A University of South Carolina Arnold School of Public Health graduate community health class, running with an idea from Gamecock defensive lineman Kelcy Quarles, is starting a program aimed at helping former players get back into a healthy groove.

The effort is being dubbed The 5th Quarter, referring to the rest of the players’ lives after football. A meeting to get the program started is scheduled for 6-8 p.m. Wednesday at the Eau Claire Print Building at 3907 Ensor Ave. in Columbia. It’s aimed at former players, but coaches, administrators and family members could benefit, too.

Quarles’ father Buddy, a former USC lineman himself, had a multitude of health problems after finishing his career, including some related to weight.

While suggestions from Quarles got the wheels rolling on The 5th Quarter, it’s not aimed at players still in the game. At the college and pro level, those guys get the advantage of trainers and nutritionists who work with teams.

But once playing careers are over, the players who gained weight for the sport often go from intense physical activity to a more sedentary lifestyle. It’s tough to lose weight in that situation, and weight problems put the former players at tremendous risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis.

For more information on the program, email Kimberly Rucker at or Alex Sougiannis at