The famed basketball player made a surprise visit to the public charter school and spoke to middle and high school students about healthy living and staying fit.
He also said it’s critical for parents to take their children to get their physicals and to the dentists and stay alert if they notice any changes in their child’s health. He added that parents must also set a good example and take measures to stay fit and in balance.
“Having communication is very important. Kids will [speak up] when they’re not feeling well, and something is going on in their lives. It’s really important to have that line of communication but at the same time, parents must also do it too and go to the doctor. We can prevent a lot of things that happen to us if we just go when we’re feeling bad, and something’s wrong.”
Simply Healthcare was also a part of the presentation at the school. Johnson has a partnership with the company and works as a spokesperson for the Florida licensed health maintenance organization with main offices in Miami.
The healthcare company provides benefits and access to care and services to people enrolled in the Medicaid and Medicare programs, which also serve children and families and are one of the schools sponsors.
For Johnson, being a part of the community and using his platform to encourage people and the youth to stay on top of their health is one of his top priorities.
“Early detection saved my life, and early detection can save their lives as well. I’m glad I did have to take the physical for the Lakers because that saved my life. I found out I had HIV, and we took care of it. I got on some meds, and here I am 25 years later because I do everything I’m supposed to do.”
The retired basketball player also encouraged students to stay focused in school, listen to their parents and participate as much as they can in school activities. He reminisced about writing for his school's paper and being an active member of different curricular activities. He also shot hoops and practiced drills with girls and boys from the basketball team.
Izaiah Cassell, an eighth-grade football player at the school was excited about the visit.
“I thought the event was inspiring and awesome. It was cool to meet him,” Izaiah, 13, said. “He came up from nothing and became something. That inspired me.”
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