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NFL football hero visits Guardian Angels, shares personal journey with mental illness

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking  time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking  time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking  time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking  time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking  time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

NFL football hero Herschel Walker visited Patrick Air Force Base, January 24, taking time to meet with Guardian Angel Airmen from the 920th Rescue Wing. These elite warrior Airmen undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. They toured Walker through their squadron and demonstrated some of their rescue skills. Throughout the visit, Walker held their rapt attention sharing lots of inspirational accounts of his days playing football. Later that afternoon, Walker stood in front of several hundred Patrick AFB employees who came to listen to his personal battled with mental illness. (U.S. Air Force photo/Maj. Cathleen Snow)

PATRICK AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --

If you ever followed American football in the 1980s, the name Herschel Walker of the Dallas Cowboys was legendary. At six-foot-one, his granite-like physique was built not by lifting weights but through bodyweight exercises — lots of them. On the order of 2,000-3,000 push-ups and sit-ups every day.

In his 50's now, he visited with Guardian Angel Airmen of the 920th Rescue Wing, January 24, and shared how he continues with an insane bodyweight workout regimen as a mixed martial arts fighter.

He spent time with the elite warriors who also undergo intense physical and mental training to rescue isolated personnel in combat. The pararescuemen, the search evasion resistance escape (SERE) specialist and combat rescue officer make up this the Guardian Angel Weapons System. The team toured Walker through their squadron while they demonstrated their rappel skills from a 30-foot tower on site and showed off a plethora of rescue gear. 

Walker took in the display pausing to share personal accounts of his days playing football weaving in humor and inspiration holding everyone's rapt attention. “You train to win,” his personal mantra he emphasized in-between stories.

In addition to playing football, Walker was a bobsledder, sprinter and played college football for the University of Georgia earning consensus All-American honors three times and won the 1982 Heisman Trophy. In 1999, he was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

After swapping stories with the Guardian Angels, this spirited athletic warrior took to an auditorium format joined by several hundred Patrick Air Force Base, Florida, employees who listened as he shared his life’s journey battling mental illness - Dissociative Identity Disorder.

In a question and answer session afterward, he warmly imparted the importance of showing love to anyone suffering with a mental illness while openly urging anyone dealing with mental issues to seek help, “no matter who you are.”

“No one is above getting help, not even Herschel Walker,” he said.  

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