By Van Adams, Player Engagement Insider
While Georgia born and reared, New York Giants rookie defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson may have need a little time to acclimate to the hustle and bustle – and colder temperatures in the New York/NewJersey tri-state area, he wasted no time in getting involved with the Giants community relations efforts and national causes.
This season he’s played golf and bowled in tournaments for charitable causes, joined his fellow rookie teammates for an annual Halloween party at the Sanzari Children’s Hospital sporting a knight costume, and plans to bring holiday tidings to a children’s Christmas party as Santa Claus.
Tomlinson supports the American Diabetes Association (ADA) in their mission to prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. According to the ADA, nearly half of American adults have diabetes or prediabetes; and more than 30 million adults and children have diabetes.
Type 2 (also known as hyperglycemia) is the most common form of diabetes, where the body does not use insulin properly. Over time, the body isn't able make enough insulin to keep blood glucose at normal levels, which leads to an array of health issues.
“Eat healthy, get tested early on, and get regular medical check-ups,” said Tomlinson of the message he communicates to people.
Diabetes is a common illness in Tomlinson’s family. His mother, Melinda, passed away from complications of diabetes in 2011. He also has family members who are diabetic, including his mother’s older sister, Mary, who has been a mother figure to him. Tomlinson’s older brother has been diagnosed with the disease as well.
“It was tough losing my mother,” said Tomlinson, who lost his mother going into his senior year of high school. “She was a mother who came to every single football game; in the stands cheering. She was energetic, funny, and caring. She put everybody before herself.”
Tomlinson wears a necklace every day with a detachable cleat bottom charm given to him by his mother. He took part in the ADA’s Team Tackle initiative and wore red custom cleats bearing, RIP Mom, the American Diabetes Association logo, and his jersey number to increase awareness of the disease while honoring her legacy during the NFL’s My Cause, My Cleats week.
“I try to live everyday doing things that would make her proud by continuing to work hard and stay on the right path,” Tomlinson said.
Inspired by his mom to help other people, Tomlinson has no reservations about taking some time to help others.
“Growing up she always gave a helping hand to everyone,” said Tomlinson of his mother. “The type of person she was is the kind of person I want to be. She was a single mother raising us, and I know how tough it was. I just want to make the load lighter on other families.”
Given the nickname the Renaissance Man in high school, Tomlinson’s natural talents went beyond being an exceptional four-sport athlete and an honor student. Artist and musician are also in his repertoire.
“Football was always my primary sport. I grew up loving the game of football and I always wanted to play in the NFL, it's a dream come true,” said Tomlinson who turned down an offer to attend Harvard in favor of Alabama. “I played other sports to make the time go by and I ended up being good at them.”
A little more than good at other sports he played; Tomlinson was a three-time state championship wrestler, was on the track team and played soccer, which undoubtedly helped with conditioning.
Tomlinson earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and a second bachelor’s degree in financial planning from Alabama. While he can see himself being a financial advisor after he retires, he thinks he may go back to school and get a degree in architecture.
It seems there’s no one box appropriately sized to accommodate the 6’3’, 317lb defensive tackle. He’s not just a football player; he’s a young man with diverse interests who just happens to be academically, athletically, and artistically gifted using his talents and new platform to have a positive impact on the lives of others.
Van Adams is an award-winning entrepreneur and small business owner with expertise in sports business and business development. Over the last decade, she has represented a number of iconic sports celebrities and executed marketing campaigns for their personal celebrity and/or business ventures. An advocate for women in business, Van is the creator and producer of Gathering on the Greens, a women’s golf initiative, and serves as President of the Board of Directors for the NYC Metro Chapter of Women in Sports and Events where she oversees programming and strategy. Van is an adjunct professor and often conducts workshops for the small business & sports business communities. She spends her spare time in a test kitchen baking or on a golf course working on her short game.