Pierce Sits on Health Panel at UMass Boston

BOSTON – Paul Pierce has dominated on the court for the last 14 years, helping to lead the Celtics to an NBA Championship in 2008. Known as “The Captain” and “The Truth,” his continual effort to be the best competitor he can be has cemented his legacy.

Pierce would be the first to say his longevity on the court would not be possible without leading a healthy lifestyle. To that end, he founded the non-profit, Truth on Health foundation in an effort to inform and educate youth about the importance of exercising and eating healthy.

The non-profit has impacted thousands of youth and the reach was expanded Thursday afternoon at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Pierce, along with Boston Red Sox Nutritionist Tara Mardigan, Boston Celtics Director of Community Relations and Player Development Matt Meyersohn, and Paul Lynch from the Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts, sat on a panel in front of an audience of nearly 1,000 students.

Moderator Bob Ryan, a Boston Globe columnist emeritus, author and TV personality, opened with a question to Pierce on when he realized that nutrition was important.

“Entering the NBA, I wasn’t a healthy eater,” answered Pierce. “It wasn’t until my late twenties that I realized how important it was to eat the right things. I knew that if I wanted to be playing in the NBA 10 years from then, I had to change my diet. Since then I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables and always drink water.”

Mardigan agreed that a healthy diet dramatically impacts the performance of athletes and recommends grilled chicken and fish to the baseball players she works with.

Having worked with Pierce the last seven years, Meyersohn elaborated on the impact the 6-foot-7 forward has on his team.

“Paul drinks a lot of fruit and vegetable smoothies,” said Meyersohn. “Because of that, he had a smoothie maker brought to the practice facility so he could drink them before and after practice. Other members of the team have now followed in his footsteps and drink the smoothies too. Paul not only leads on the court but off it as well.”

the importance of reducing childhood obesity was reiterated throughout the panel discussion. With so many young people in the audience, it was essential to Pierce that they understood how exercising daily and changing their diet could give them more energy and a healthier life.

“I’m proud of the accomplishments I’ve had on the court but it means even more to be out in the community educating youth about leading a healthy lifestyle,” said Pierce. “Please take the lessons you learned today and talk to your friends and family about it.”