An interview with Charles Mann, business leader, former member of the Redskins' Super Bowl-winning team, four-time NFL Pro Bowl team member, and supporter of Inova's iPATH program.
Why did you decide to lend your support to iPATH?
I believe in community. I believe in community health, which is why I sit on Inova's board.
Why are programs like iPATH important?
A program like iPATH brings community awareness. I think that's where you really can make dramatic changes. You start with one community, one school, one neighborhood. You get people at the local level involved. That's how you move and create change.
You've excelled in sports and in the business world. How important has nutrition and wellness been to your success?
If you want your body to perform at a high level, you've got to take care of it. In about my eighth season in the NFL, I realized that I really needed to treat my body the right way. I ate right. I had a balanced diet. Exercise was a no-brainer.
What's the most important lesson that today's youth should know about living healthy lifestyles?
You are what you eat. You can have fast food and ice cream in moderation, but you can't have a steady diet of it if you want your body to respond to you. There is a lot of sickness and disease out there. If you take the right steps – eating a healthy, balanced diet, getting proper rest – you can largely avoid being unhealthy. If we can impart this to the next generation, we've done a good thing.
You've been involved with Inova for a number of years. What is it about Inova that's kept you so engaged?
The healthcare needs of people in our area really haven't changed much. People are living a little bit longer, and the quality of their living is better. But at the end of the day, there's still disease and sickness, there are still issues that need to be addressed. Even when my time on the board is over, I think I'll still lend my time and my assistance to Inova just because I believe so strongly in community health.
Do you see iPATH as being a fundamental part of Inova's mission?
The community in which you work and build, you have to get the community involved. A leader like Rod Williams, Inova's vice president of community affairs, is going to be so instrumental in really bringing that message home. I am so excited to work with him and his team, to be a part of iPATH, trying to build some synergies with the community. These things are necessary to build quality healthcare and provide information to the communities you serve.