Walker said he went from being a “special” student because of a speech impediment, who suffered a lot of bullying in his early years, to becoming a martial artist and successful high school, college, and professional football player. He made the point that everyone gets knocked down a lot in the game of life, but getting back up and staying in the game is what is important. Also, a big moment is when, like he did, you admit you need help in handling your mental problems and get it. He was diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder. He also emphasized repeatedly the important role that Jesus Christ played in helping him overcome his problems. Along with three writers, he has authored a book about his life, Breaking Free: My Life with Dissociative Identity Disorder.
The Army brought Walker to Fort Benning as a “Guest Trainer” for the Suicide Prevention Awareness Training session which was sponsored by the Army Substance Abuse Program. The suicide rate in the Army has been steadily increasing, hitting a record with 128 suicides in 2008.
This morning’s event was definitely worth the trip to Fort Benning and the long, hot walk from the packed National Infantry Museum parking lot to the parade field. It’s not everyday that you can hear probably the greatest running back of all time tell about how he overcame mental illness.