This month, Health Messenger and Special Olympics Kansas (SOKS) athlete Tyler Griswold is presented as SOKS Health and Fitness’ Health Messenger of the month for April.
Griswold, age 26, has been a part of Special Olympics Kansas for 16 years and it was only three years ago that he felt the deep desire to “learn more about health” while in health class. He said to himself many times, “I would love to teach people and become a health messenger. I like to help other athletes and teach them. I could teach them what is healthy and what is not as healthy”. It is then that he decided to become a Health Messenger with SOKS.
As a current Health Messenger, Griswold gets to talk to student and local governments and answers many questions for doctors, nurses, and caregivers to aid in their work with individuals that have intellectual or developmental disabilities. “I love being a Health Messenger,” said Griswold. “It is so fun and I am always working harder. I even talked to Senator Marshall about health.”
Griswold has gained profound value as an SOKS athlete and has adapted many healthy habits being involved in Health and Fitness. “I do eat healthier as a Health Messenger,” he said. “I stay away from pop because there are too many sugars. When my grandma asks if I want one, I now can say, “no thank you”. I learned that these bad foods and drinks can make your bones weaker over time.” Elaborating more, he said, “I drink more water and iced tea instead of having too many drinks with sugar. I don’t drink sweet tea anymore.” Griswold ended his thought by saying when his dad sees him eating healthy, he lets him know how proud he is of him and it helps him continue making those healthy choices.
Throughout his short three years as a Health Messenger, Griswold has not only learned to be healthier himself, but he has used his training to help benefit others and his fellow athletes. For him, talking to other trainers and other athletes has helped him work together with people more and create conversations about their health.
“Sometimes I see other athletes smoking and I am now able to create healthy conversations with other athletes. I ask my brain to help me brainstorm before I talk to them and can then talk to them about the steps to being healthy in a way where it won’t hurt their feelings. Now afterward, they come up to me and say, “Tyler, you are doing a good job”. People in my town are proud of me for the work I do and for speaking about how to be healthy. They say they love me for it,” said Griswold.
Overall, Griswold’s overarching goal is to “get everyone together to make working out or making healthy meals fun”. SOKS Health and Fitness is immensely proud of all the work that he continues to do in his community and the value that he brings to our Health Messengers organization. Stay tuned for next month’s Health Messenger of the month. Which athlete will be next to lead the pack?