James Thornton joined MHHC almost a year ago after a referral from a close friend and member. After 20+ years of working in sports that includes 8 Super Bowls, 5 Summer Olympics and being with “NFL on Fox” has taught James that scouting best talent is imperative. The Center both amazed and impressed him with the amount of equipment, fitness resources and wellness advocacy shown by the staff. James exclaimed that McConnell demonstrates a daily commitment to helping members address a variety of health topics.
As a 6'5” 500 lb. man, James was never told, "You're fat." But as a person with multiple medical issues, he was on the road to an early death in his opinion. In most cases, people would just say, "Wow you're a big man, it’s cool you played football.”
Being raised in the South, food is a centerpiece to life — everything’s fried and tastes good! From a football perspective, as a 6'5” 275 lb. high school lineman, coaches loved BIG, the BIGGER the better, especially in the NFL. James has had teammates, family and friends die from weight and heart related causes.
After such problems for what seemed like forever, James experienced a life changing event in 2009. So he had to take personal accountability of this situation with the help of “his team” (doctors, family and friends). After investigating all the available options, James chose to have a Gastric Sleeve procedure in 2011. The surgery was neither a quick fix nor a silver bullet, but he had no expectations of that. It allowed him to build a new foundation for exercising, living with less pain and demonstrating that a healthier lifestyle is possible. The results are 200 lb. lost with sleep apnea and Type II Diabetes markers gone! The factors that drove James to this journey are “living in the fourth quarter”, the power of partnerships and self-accountability.
According to James, what’s cool about McConnell is that whether he’s is in the pool, on a cardio machine or in a training session with Nick Smith, seeing fellow members showing their commitment to better health is contagious. “After all, aren’t we all seeking the same thing — good health and happiness?”