10_smith%5C2010_0826_gb033_macht.jpgIndianapolis Colts Wide Receiver Taj Smith joined a panel of current and former NFL athletes for the Young Fathers Program in celebration of Black History Month at UMDNJ in Newark.

Topics included life before and after football and what it means to be a “Football Father”.
Newark, N.J.—February 28, 2011—On Wednesday February 24, 2011 the Young Fathers Program at UMDNJ joined professionals from the Sports Industry for a presentation on “The Pressure/Impact of Black Professional Athletes in Raising a Family—The Myth, Reality, and Challenges of the Professional Athlete in Raising a Family”.

Indianapolis Colts Taj Smith spoke alongside other current and former NFL athletes including a 1984 Olympian about the unseen difficulties of a life in professional sports. The presentation focused on their lives before, during and after a professional sports career. NFL Panelists shared the importance of establishing a career path and financial plan before their career begins to protect them during and after their career in sports. Other panelists shared their experiences on being a father with an career in the NFL.

“Never allow yourself to give up because nothing happens without faith, perseverance, hard work, and dedication. I feel it’s my time to share this with people” said Taj Smith.

Moderated by Jim Norris, panelists included Oakland Raiders Joe Porter, Seattle Seahawks Jay Alford, Tampa Bay Buccaneers Ian Scott, Dallas Cowboys Gary Westberry, Seattle Seahawks Tony Woods, Denver Broncos Jeff Mills, and 1984 Olympian John Marshall.

Special guest panelist Dr. F. Kennedy Gordon of Gordon Elite Sports spoke about the athletes’ responsibility of caring for their bodies during their career to prevent future injuries.

“I thought it was phenomenal in terms of the content of information. We get an image from media that is glamorous, beautiful, glorified athletes playing the game and it’s so enticing. But today, we got to talk about the real challenges behind the scenes that we never hear, we never talk about and the real afflictions that has come from this NFL professional sports. And I’m kind of taken by the reality and really feeling the emotional pain of these gentleman articulating what has really transpired. I think today was an incredible day. I love the spirit of the panel. Their spirits weren’t broken.” said Mr. Charles Dixon, Director of the Young Fathers Program.

Robyn Leigh Butler

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