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Greetings readers and subscribers! ow! How can we possibly be in the 3rd quarter of 2018 already? I trust that your health and wellness are improving and that you are finding the content of this magazine of value to you and your family. As I have shared with you in previous Publisher Columns, we created this magazine because we care about your health, wellness, and safety; and the healthier you are the more you can enjoy life and better serve our country.

Did you know these facts about Musculoskeletal Disorders?: • When it comes to workplace injuries, MSDs are the NUMBER ONE reported problem, representing about 30 percent of all workers’ compensation costs. • In 2011, US companies spent $50 Billion o direct costs of MSDs. • Indirect costs can be up to 5x the direc costs of MSDs • On average, an MSD comes with a direct cost of $15,000 • Many, if not all MSDs are actually preven able!

With that in mind, HUGE Magazine continues to be the national media partner for the Federal Employees Occupational Health Initiative, sponsored by, an awareness campaign that is committed to increasing awareness about Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) such as pain, soreness, swelling, or other physical discomforts while performing daily work duties.

In this, our Summer 2018 issue, we continue to share these points and other information with you about Musculoskeletal Disorders (MSDs) that you might find interesting and helpful. Please make sure that you review the article “10 Signs That You May Need to Seek an Exam for Your MSD Issues”. The information is quite illuminating!

This initiative is designed to allow eligible federal employees to get a physical exam from an OWCP doctor without fees, co-pays, or deductibles of any kind. So please accept my personal invitation and challenge to you, our valued readers, to join in the effort to raise awareness about MSDs among federal employees.

This month’s cover honoree is Mr. Kailee Wong, NFL Alumni (Minnesota Vikings and “Original” Houston Texan). Kailee suffered a pretty serious knee injury on the field that only one other person had suffered at that time. Amazingly, his doctor successfully treated him and he was able to return to play another season. He now owns two recovery clinics in Houston,TX and treats all clients as if they were athletes! You will enjoy his story!

If you or a fellow federal employee is suffering with pain or discomfort, please encourage them to participate in the campaign and get a free physical.

It’s time to let you get started with this special issue. Good Reading and Good Health, Steve Levine


Phone: 832-419-2814 Or Write: HUGE MAGAZINE P.O. Box 31186 Houston, TX 77231 See us on the web at

Executive Publisher Steve Levine Associate Publisher/ Editor/Creative Director Barbara Davis-Levine Transcriber Jerome Davis Graphic Design Lavinia Menchaca Malka Levy

Contributing Writers Mark Gardner J. David Cox Archie Elliott Publisher’s Editorial Advisory Board Kennith Beasley/APWU Dena Briscoe/APWU Clifton Buchanan/AFGE-CPL J. David Cox/AFGE Dr. Jack Jensen


Congress and the Administration Are

Jeopardizing American Lives


he federal government – and the public servants who run it – exist to serve the American people.

Here is just a brief glimpse into how American citizens are being denied the services we’ve paid for and earned, and how it endangers our safety and well-being going forward:

Together they provide necessary services, programs, and assistance to all taxpayers – and do a great job of it. But ever since President Trump assumed office, he and Congress have found new and innovative ways to dismantle and attack the very foundation of our country.

• Social Security Administration: Since 2010, the number of beneficiaries aged 65 or older has ballooned from around 38.2 million to 59.9 million last year. That’s more than 21 million more people looking to draw from Social Security while our executive and legislative branches have shuttered 71 field offices – with several more scheduled to close this year. As a direct result of these closures and budget cuts, historic level of backlogs exist throughout the agency, and with 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, it’s only going to get worse.

Starting with a government-wide hiring freeze that prevented worthy applicants from becoming food inspectors, to installing an Environmental Protection Agency Administrator who is rolling back life-saving regulations on a seemingly daily basis, and even now with cuts in staffing at our federal prisons – American lives are being put in peril because of hidden agendas and special corporate interests.

And it must be stopped. Since we all joined the ranks of taxpayers, we’ve paid into a system that was supposed to serve us. But beyond the essentials of infrastructure (roads, bridges, airports, and tunnels), general public safety (police officers, fire fighters, and hospitals), and governing bodies (city, state, and federal), we are paying for much more. But now, thanks to the beaters of the “drain the swamp” drum, essential government services are facing: greater cuts, outsourcing, and even total tear-downs.

• Bureau of Prisons: For years Correctional Officers in our federal prisons have been no stranger to understaffing. The lack of necessary officers prisons has led to augmentation of staff members like accountants, receptionists, and counselors as officers; which endangers Bureau of Prisons staff, inmates, and the community around those prisons. This year, instead of addressing the shortages, President Trump announced a plan to further gut the agency by cutting 6,000 correctional officer positions. • Environmental Protection Agency: In 2010, the Economic Policy Institute found that 160,000 lives were saved by the Clean Air Act amendments of 1990 and that by 2020 that number would climb to 230,000 lives saved. One might think that given the tremendous

impact these amendments have, the leader of the EPA would be pleased. Unfortunately Scott Pruitt has made it his mission to dismantle any and all life-saving regulations so his friends and business associates can pollute freely and without consequence. • Department of Education: Without much fanfare, Secretary Betsy DeVos, has for all intents and purposes killed the team within her agency charged with investigating for-profit college fraud. What was once a robust team of public servants looking out for citizens being preyed upon by groups – for example Trump University – that took exorbitant payments for little-to-no return was cut to three members that have all now been reassigned to different roles. Sadly, these four examples are just the tip of the iceberg. We’ve seen programs for low-income and minority citizens slashed or outright eliminated at Housing and Urban Development, 49,000 vacancies at the VA completely ignored, and plans to drain funds from the Department of Defense to build a border wall that nobody wants. It doesn’t make sense, and it runs counter to why our government even exists. We as a country have a decision to make this November. Do we want a government that continues to endanger lives and eliminate the services we’ve already paid for and earned? Or do we want one that is here to help us all? I know my answer.



On The Cover Kailee Wong –


The Athletic Room


Key Pointers When it Comes to Youth Athletic Development: 20 Salmon




Nutrition Spotlight: Pomegranate


Can Exercise Help Sharpen your Focus?


Reduce Belly Fat with These Exercises


Publisher’s Column


Kailee Wong – The Athletic Room


Fight Allergies with Raw Honey


Social Security Survivor’s Benefits


10 Signs that You May Need to Seek an Exam for Your MSD Issues


Big Changes in Federal Workers’ Benefits On Horizon


Nutrition Spotlight: Eggplant


| Cover Story

Treating Everyone Like They Are Athletes


By Barbara R. Davis

here are many people who excel in sports in school but only a handful of them become professional athletes. Those who do make it as a professional athlete know there is far more involved than just being physically capable to perform well. Former NFL linebacker, Kailee Wong, is one of those people who went all the way. He believes that his success had as much to do with his mental abilities and emotional aspects as it did with his physical abilities. After playing professional football for nine years, he made the wise decision to retire. Even though he could have played longer, his body had already taken a lot of abuse over the years. Kailee left because he wanted to be able to enjoy his children and remain active late in life. After leaving the NFL, Kailee tried a six-year stint in Corporate America but soon realized that his body was not receiving the same kind of care sitting at a desk that it had received when he was in the NFL. It was at that point that he had an epiphany, that everyone needs to be treated like an athlete in how they care for their bodies. As a result, the Athletic Room was born. Growing up in the small, college town of Eugene, Oregon, Kailee loved playing out-

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At the Athletic Room, they specialize in flexibility sessions guided by experts. Instead of being forced into painful and awkward positions, individuals experience stretching through movement. People leave feeling euphoric and relaxed because their joints have been primed and their muscles elongated. The end result is that they feel re-energized and youthful. The benefits individuals receive far exceed their 30-minute session, especially after lying on the custom Comfort Craft Table. Photo by Gwen Juarez

doors and spending most of his time river rafting, fishing, or just being in the water. He felt safe and happy in the close-knit community. Wong inherited a lot of his natural athletic abilities from his father who had gotten a scholarship to play football for the University of Oregon. Kailee’s analytical mind and study skills had a lot to do with his mom who had also attended the University of Oregon and graduated with an MEd in Curriculum and Instruction. Kailee’s mother, who was an educator and writer, spent a lot of time nurturing her only child. She did a great job teaching him to be a gentleman and respectful of others. A three-time letterman in high school basketball, Wong dreamt of playing professional basketball. He reflected, “With athleticism, there is a certain minimum of talent you have to be born with. I played all through high school and all through my childhood but going beyond that level, it just wasn’t feasible for my body style, my body type. There are a lot of things you must do to develop into an athlete. At a very early age, I had an interest. No one ever had to pressure me to practice, because that’s what I

loved doing. I loved being out there, I loved practicing, and I liked the benefit. There’s a ton of stuff that goes along, not only with the physical, but with the mental aspect of sports.” Wong soon realized that his strengths were more suited to football. He played on the offense as a running back and a fullback. Even though he broke many records as a fullback, his body took a lot of abuse. Kailee recalled, “Toward the end of a game, guys would literally have to pull me up and straighten my legs because of cramps. My body took such punishment that I didn’t want to do that in college.” When Coach Bill Walsh from Stanford University recruited Kailee, there was a stipulation that he would not have to play offense and that is why Wong started playing on the defense as a linebacker. Kailee attended Stanford on a full scholarship for four years and majored in Economics. “I may not have been the most talented person on my team,” remarked Kailee, “but I had very, very good results. A lot of that had to do with the mental aspect that I approached sports with, because

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with sports, with life, with being good at anything, not only do you have to bring the physical, you also have to bring the mental and the emotional aspects to really resonate and move you to do things that maybe your competitors are not doing.” Kailee’s main goal, especially when he was a youth, was to get a college scholarship, which he did. Then, around the time of his junior year at Stanford, he realized, “Man, I’m pretty good at this and there’s an opportunity for me to play in the NFL.” From that point on, Wong wanted to be the best in college. In his senior year, he was nominated and voted as one of the All-Americans. Recently, he was inducted into the Stanford Football Hall of Fame. Selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the second round, Wong was 51st overall in the 1998 NFL Draft. After playing for Minnesota for four years, he was a free agent and began looking around the NFL for other opportunities. At the time, the Texans team was a brand new franchise in Houston, and Dom Capers, who had been a defensive coach previously,

| Cover Story Every professional athlete ends a training session with an ice bath which can be a big hassle. At the Athletic Room, they use an Impact Cryotherapy Chamber which delivers the same benefits without taking up a lot of time or causing any discomfort. The best part of all there’s no getting wet!. Photo by Gwen Juarez

was the head coach. After making the decision to join the Texans, Wong played for five additional years. While playing for Houston, Kailee participated in an entrepreneurial program at the Harvard University School of Business as well as furthering his education at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business. In addition, he and his mother, Linda Wong, wrote a book called “Mom’s Pocket Guide to Watching Football”. While still with the Vikings, Kailee spent some time in San Diego during the off season visiting Chris Draft aka “Drafty”, his former roommate from Stanford and Jon Haskins aka “Skins”, another friend from Stanford. Both Chris and Jon played on the San Diego Chargers at the time. Three weeks before Kailee’s visit, while he was in the playoffs in Minnesota, Drafty and Skins had

been out one evening at a club in San Diego and met two young ladies, Candace and Marissa. Drafty was trying to get some personal time to speak with Candace and asked Skins to talk to Marissa and keep her occupied. Unfortunately, Skins had a lot to learn about talking to women. Only a few moments had passed when he managed to say some very insulting things about a teammate of his who was also a family friend of Marissa’s. She was so upset that she slapped “Skins” and stated to Candace that she wanted to leave. Drafty looked at Skins and exclaimed, “What’s wrong with you? You were there for 30 seconds. How could you mess it up so badly?!!!” Fortunately, Candace was taking a little more time to leave, and Skins had another opportunity to speak with Marissa who was kind enough to

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listen. He then said to her, “I have this friend who would really like you.” Marissa replied, “Oh, really? Where is your friend at?” Skins then answered, “Well, he lives in Minnesota.” Quite fed up by that time, Marissa ended the conversation with an abrupt, “Oh, okay.” Then, in almost the same breath, Marissa told Candace she was leaving with or without her, and the two of them left. Right after that encounter, Skins spoke to Kailee over the phone and told him how he had met the perfect girl for him.” Kailee replied, “Okay. I’m going to be in San Diego in three weeks, so cool.” When Wong got to San Diego, he and Skins went to the club where Skins had met Marissa, but she wasn’t there. She had plans to go on a date with someone elsewhere that evening but had been to the club earlier with friends and acci-

dentally forgot her purse. When she returned for her purse, Kailee immediately noticed her and went over to talk to her before Skins could even say anything. The rest is history. After the fact, Skins exclaimed, “Dude, that was the girl I was telling you about!” Kailee thought it was funny how Skins knew him so well and his taste in women.

accomplished what I wanted to accomplish in my career and the things that I wasn’t able to accomplish, I probably was no longer capable of doing. I decided to retire to make sure I protected my mobility and my lifestyle that I planned on having the rest of my life and I wanted to be active late in life for my children,” stated Wong.

Kailee dated Marissa for about nine months and then he proposed to her. They’ve now been married for 16 years and have four children. Kailee is just as enamored with Marissa as he was the day he met her. When he talks about her, his face lights up as though he was still a newlywed. “She’s amazing,” expressed Wong. “She is a petite little thing, but believe it or not, she was a probation officer at the time. I would call her on the phone and she’d be so sweet. Then she would tell me to wait one second and then speak in a very commanding voice to one of her parolees. Afterwards, she would be all sweet again with me on the phone. It was just really, really funny. She was the woman for me and that was that.”

After retiring from football, Kailee went into Corporate America. He thought he was doing a good thing in preserving his health and wellbeing by leaving football and taking a desk job. Ironically, he found out quickly that his body was worse sitting behind a desk than it was when he played football, and it started becoming a big issue when he began relying on a lot of Ibuprofen to get through each day. Frustrated that it wasn’t good on his stomach or his system on a long-term basis, Wong started seeking solutions for his problems. One of the things that he knew best was how he took care of his body as a professional athlete. The place where every athlete ends up at the end of the day to do basic body maintenance, just minor things every day to feel better the next day is the athletic training room. That became Kailee’s inspiration in creating the Athletic Room.

Wong is very fortunate to be doing so physically well after playing nine years in the NFL. During that time, he was rarely injured, but the few times that he was injured were major ones. In his fourth year, he had a torn Achilles tendon that required surgery. Then, in his eighth year, he had the worst injuries of all - a ruptured patella tendon, a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and a torn meniscus. The severe injuries required multiple surgeries and a lot of rehabilitation. Unbelievably, after 10 months, Kailee returned in his ninth year to play competitively again. At the end of Kailee’s ninth year in the NFL, he made the decision to retire even though he could have played a few more years. He had several guaranteed contracts offered to him but the wear and tear and the cumulative volume he had put on his body were major factors in his decision to leave. “I felt as though I had

Opened in December of 2016, the Athletic Room was developed by professional athletes and people who work with professional athletes. Kailee’s premise is that everyone’s an athlete, therefore, our bodies are tools and we must take care of them. He brought the things that professional athletes do on a daily basis and made it accessible to everyone. Some of these include fascial stretching, a cryochamber for cold therapy to reduce inflammation and pain, GameReady contrast therapy, percussion therapy, cupping, and NormaTec PULSE Recovery Systems for inflammation. Kailee explained, “All of these different modalities that we use on a regular basis in pro athletics, we’re making available to everybody to feel better, to live their best, and to move their best. We realized that

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performance is about longevity. It’s not just about that year or that moment, it’s about really taking care and being an active participant in your wellness so that you move longer in life.” Wong elaborated, “My mission is to help people feel better and to move better. That is my main goal. I am passionate about wanting to educate and wanting to spread the word of that, ‘Hey, you know what? That lower back issue that you’ve been dealing with? It doesn’t have to be that way. There are steps that you can do to essentially alleviate and start reshaping or reconditioning your muscle or your skeletal structure so that you don’t have to live that way.’ That’s what the Athletic Room started as, that’s what it’s built as, and that’s the kind of culture we always want to hold on to.” “It’s this idea that at the end of the day, you know your body the best,” continued Wong, “and we’re here to try to help you, to try to assist you in opening up and creating better range of motion, better movement, better mobility, and better flexibility that can stay with you for life. Because unlike strength training, which you can get quickly but goes away, or cardiovascular exercise which you can, again, get quickly but also goes away pretty fast, flexibility is something, once you obtain it, that stays with you. It’s long-lasting and it can dramatically affect how you feel and how you move as you age.” Wong went to the best professional trainers for advice on how the Athletic Room was designed and is run. He has had input from athletic trainers for the Houston Dynamos and other soccer teams, and strength and conditioning coaches and trainers for the 49ers, Texans, and Redskins. The Athletic Room is not a medical facility, nor do they work under a physician’s license, but the background of their staff and advisors are professional licensed athletic trainers for high-level programs. Kailee took their advice on what are the best modalities that give the biggest benefits to the

| Cover Story The Athletic Room’s Compression Recovery Room features the best NormaTec systems that help clients get back to performing at 100 percent. The expertly selected NormaTec “sleeves” are placed on one’s arms, legs, or hips and are inflated to mold to one’s shape. Pulsating air begins to compress and then release similar to the feeling of being kneaded in a massage. This patented pulsing sensation is repeated in a sequential pattern that will reduce swelling and fluid build up while increasing blood flow. This allows in more nutrients and oxygen, which enables a faster recovery. Photo by Gwen Juarez

go to the restroom. A lot of corporations have personal trainers who will blow a whistle every 30 minutes and have everyone stand up. At the top of the hour, everyone must physically leave their desks. Whether they get a glass of water, whether they go to the restroom, it helps prevent blood clots.”

average person and what would be the modalities that professional athletes use that would really benefit everyone else. One of the Athletic Room’s medical directors is Dr. Mark Adickes who is an amazing person. He played in the NFL for nine years, won a Super Bowl, attended Harvard Medical School, and is now an orthopedic surgeon and the Chief of Sports Medicine for Baylor College of Medicine. He likes to say, “More than 50 percent of the people who come to see me really didn’t need to come see me. It’s self-induced issues that end up leading to surgery. It’s not accidents, it’s just because they weren’t doing anything to offset the damage, the dysfunction that occurs.” Kailee’s wife, Marissa, is also a key player on the Athletic Room team. Even though she is actively involved in caring for their four children who range in age from 6 to 13, she somehow finds time to do whatever is needed to fill in the gaps assisting Kailee in running the two Athletic Room facilities. In addition, Marissa takes care of their social media which she especially excels in.

Wong shared, “People get into bad habits. And your body learns those bad habits which changes your posture and changes your gate which is the way you walk, to move in the most efficient way that your body now can with the restrictions you put on it. If you wait until it’s screaming at you, there’s very little you can do. You’re probably going to have to see a doctor. So, the Athletic Room offers a very traditional Chinese medicine type of approach to where a little bit of active participation will go a long way in your overall health and longevity.” Kailee added, “A lot of the Athletic Room’s guests are part of Corporate America who do a lot of sitting or a lot of traveling. Traveling can be tough on bodies. I think our oldest guest is 91 and our youngest is 11. So, it really does go across all borders because what we recognize is that we’re all athletes. We’re all designed to move and because of that, we need to take care of our bodies so that we can really perform for our entire life. My biggest hack to working at a desk is hydration. Drink lots of water because it’s going to make you get up to

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For individuals sitting at a desk all day who don’t have the luxury of a personal trainer at work, Wong suggests that they set their smart watches or timers to go off every 30 minutes and get up, stretch their bodies, and get their blood flowing. Kailee stated that a lot of studies show that most people have difficulty operating at peak performance and working at their best beyond 30 minutes at a time. They should take that time and use it efficiently so that they can go back and get even more accomplished during the next half hour. Mobility - the ability to move, and flexibility - the range of motion, are key factors that either enhance or limit how we live our lives, and it’s imperative that we invest in them. Some of Kailee’s best advice includes: “Just like we would invest in our cardiovascular fitness, strength training, or diet and nutrition, we should also invest in our body maintenance. They all go hand in hand. Don’t make your fitness regimen so intense that you eventually no longer can do it. You need to think about how to properly take care of your body so that you can perform as long as your body allows. Don’t just think about adding years to your life, think about adding life to your years by treating your body like an athlete treats theirs.”

| Magazine

Fight Allergies with Raw

When dealing with allergies, many people mention getting shots at the doctor’s, using over the counter allergy medication or even using immunotherapy to fight allergies.


owever, many people do not mention honey since a lot are not aware of the amazing allergy-fighting effects of honey. While those familiar with honey’s magical effects compare it to immunotherapy, the process of using small amounts of an allergen over time to allow your body to become desensitized to it, the way that raw honey works are similar but slightly different at the same time.

The Difference Between Immunotherapy And Raw Honey The largest difference between consuming raw honey for allergies instead of using immunotherapy injections is the isolation of the allergen. With immunotherapy, your doctor can isolate the specific allergen that is causing an allergic reaction with a patient and help them fight that specific issue. However, it is not possible to specifically tell the type of pollen that was collected to make the raw honey. This affects those with grass or tree pollen specifically since raw honey will not deliver any of the immunotherapy effects that are expected. Why? Well, bees do not forage from grass or trees, the light dusty

pollen is not what they are looking for. So the potential immunotherapy benefits are not there since a part of the allergen is not in the honey.

How Raw Honey Can Help Anyone who is allergic to a wide variety of pollens from an array of weeds and flowers can benefit the most from using raw honey. When purchasing your honey for this purpose, skip the jarred honey that has been sitting on the shelf at your grocery store for who knows how long, and instead reach out to a local seller. If there is a specific type of flower or weed that you are allergic to, find where those flowers grow the most and look up information on beekeepers. In fact, many vineyards, gardens, and farms will also farm bees simply because of how helpful they are to their crops, and they get fantastic honey as an additional bonus. Oftentimes, many honey sellers can also identify the specific pastures of flowers that were used the most in the creation of their honey. The more information you can gather, the better off you will be and the stronger the effect of the honey could be. Besides the pollen fighting powers of raw honey, honey can actually help to boost your immune system in surprising

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and amazing ways. Even if you are allergic to something that is not included as pollen in the honey you are purchasing, honey can still help. Raw and organic honey is simply packed full of enzymes, minerals, vitamins, amino acids, polyphenols, and antioxidants! Honey is so healthy for your immune system and can definitely help fight against your allergies. For the short term, honey is also effective in helping you feel better while suffering from allergies. A scratchy and itchy throat is no match for honey. The most effective way that it can help is just to take a spoonful of honey in the mouth and let it slowly slide down the throat. The gooey structure helps to keep the throat lubricated and sooth any pain. Alternatively, dissolve some honey in warm tea with lemon to effectively help the throat without the coating feeling that some are not a fan of. Honey also lasts forever; it never goes bad. If it ever crystalizes, it can be stirred or simply add some water and it will regain its consistency. For sweetening items, ditch the crystalized sugar and look to honey as a healthy alternative that is still sweet and delicious.

Social Security

Survivor’s Benefits If a person who is receiving Social Security benefits passes away, his or her surviving dependents may qualify for some amount or benefit


f a person who is receiving so security benefit passes away, his or her surviving dependents may qualify for some amount of benefit. Survivors can include the worker’s spouse (widow or widower), ex-spouse, child(ren), and dependent parent(s) a surviving spouse may be able to receive full survivor’s benefits from Social Security at their full retirement age. However, a reduced amount of benefit can be received as early as age 60. If the surviving spouse is disabled, they could receive benefits as early as age 50. The surviving spouse of any age can receive survivor benefits if they are taking care of the deceased workers child who is younger than age 16 or disabled. An un-married surviving child of a deceased worker can also receive survivor’s benefit from Social Security if they are younger than 18, or if they are up to age 19 and they are attending either elementary or secondary school on a full-time basis. If a surviving child is disabled before he or she reaches age 22 they can obtain benefits at any age and they can continue receiving benefits as long as they remain disabled. A deceased workers dependent parents may also be able to receive survivor’s benefits from Social Security if they are age 62 or older. The worker would have had to provide at least half of the parent’s financial support for a parent or parents to qualify. Qualifying for survivor’s benefits depends on the number of work credits that the worker has, plus the age that he or she is when they die the younger the worker is, the

fewer credits they are required to have for survivors to receive benefits. If you take the survivor benefits at age 60, it would be reduced. The full survivor’s benefit is available at your full retirement age. A couple strategies that many survivors are not aware of: 1.You can claim the survivor benefit at age 60, letting their own benefit continue to grow to age 70. You can then switch to higher benefit. 2. Or, if it works better for you, you can start your benefit at age 62 and then switch the higher survivor benefit at age 66. It certainly worth the effort to research your options Determining the Best Time to Take Social Security Retirement Benefits will be your most difficult decision because if you do not have someone who is skilled you could easily forgo potentially $250,000 over a lifetime. An individual who works while also receiving Social Security retirement income may have some of his or her benefits subject to income tax the amount will be determined on how much a person earns as well as their tax filing status The IRS cannot give you advice nor can they help you maximize your benefits. If you’d like to learn more about Social Security, please go to the follow link: Mark S. Gardner (214-762-2327) 5307 E. Mockingbird Lane. Suite 500 Dallas, Tx 75206

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| Magazine


Signs that You May Need to Seek an Exam for Your MSD Issues

Musculoskeletal Disorders or MSDs are a variety of disorders and injuries that affect the human body’s movement or musculoskeletal system. A very common example that many people have heard of is carpal tunnel syndrome.

Here are some MSD facts: • When it comes to workplace injuries, MSDs are the number 1 reported problem, representing about 30% of all worker’s compensation costs. • In 2011, US companies spent $50 Billion on direct costs of MSDs. • Indirect costs can be up to 5x the direct costs of MSDs • On average, an MSD comes with a direct cost of $15,000 • Many, if not all, MSDs are actually preventable!

Here are 10 signs that you may need an exam for your MSD: 1. High Task Repetition – The most common reason for MSDs to occur is from a repetitive task. When the body performs the same movements over and over again, there is a high chance of that movement causing an injury at some point. It is important to take breaks often, so your body has chances to relax. 2. Forceful Exertions – Certain jobs will require a certain amount of exertion. However, when the exertion happens often and causes the body to forcefully move something, the chance of injury increases. An exam can help diagnose the specific problem, and work tools such as a pulley or cart can help decrease the force needed. 3. Repetitive or Sustained Awkward Positions – Some job-related tasks will force an employee to move in an awkward way. Sometimes this can be from reaching for something or having to adjust the body in order to turn a switch.

4. Lack of Job Rotation – Especially for highly repetitive jobs, it is crucial to rotate employees between stations to avoid the overuse of one muscle or set of muscles. The subtle switch between stations and jobs is often enough to prevent injury from overuse. 5. Poorly Designed Station/Equipment – In addition to awkward positions, a common occurrence is a poorly designed workstation or piece of equipment. This is often not intentional but can have a drastic impact on an employee. Designers often come up with a concept that looks great but might not have the employees well being in mind. A desk that is too low or too high, a piece of equipment that is just out of reach, or a poorly designed factory station are just a few examples. A major way to fight against MSDs is through ergonomics, the practice of streamlining an activity so there is little impact on the body. This can often be as simple as moving an item, so it is closer and easier to use. 6. Lack of Training – Unfortunately, many employers simply do not train their employees well enough on machines that can cause injury. It is important to make sure that you are fully trained on any equipment you will be using to avoid inadvertent injuries. 7. Previously Injured Employees – If there is a long history of injured employees, don’t become another statistic! Get an exam and report the issues to the correct authority. 8. Poor Management Communication – Poor management of employees can have a much larger impact than just a moral issue.

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Management failing to communicate about other issues, how to avoid them, and other best practices can be a huge cause for alarm. 9. Standing or Sitting for too Long – Too much of either standing or sitting can have negative implications for different reasons. Whether standing or sitting, it is vital to take standardized breaks in order to give the body a break. 10. Poor Health/Matching of Duties – Sometimes, even with an ergonomic station and proper breaks built in, people can still get injured. This can be due to poor health of an employee or simply a bad fit for the job at hand. There are many ways that MSDs can occur, but it is important to recognize the potential warning signs and get an exam!

Big Changes in Federal Workers’ Benefits On Horizon

The newly appointed director of the Office of Personnel Management, Jeff Pon, is prepared to make large changes to the workplace policies,


ederal employee benefits, and federal pay scale. To get the ball rolling, he has started to boost the profile of the Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHCO). In a released memo, Mr. Pon states that the needs of the 21st-century workforce have to be reevaluated and met with more active management. This can be achieved through the creation of more agile operations and further recruitment of top talent. With the combined needs of extensive civil service reforms as well as huge efforts to modernize information technology and needed adjustments to many federal employee benefits, seasoned management, and the assistance they can offer, is greatly needed. The Chief Human Capital Officers Council (CHCO) oversees the implementation of large government-wide policies and changes. It is predominantly made up of Chief Human Capital officers, HR directors and their subordinates from cabinet departments and independent agencies. Some of the CHCO positions are actually filled solely on acting basis. Mr. Pon believes that the role of the council needs to be given to senior-level federal employees so that we can all benefit from their extensive experience. To serve such vital roles on a leadership team,

it is important to look for someone with the earned trust of an agency such as an agency head, secretary or someone who has served a vital role. He stressed the importance of the CHCO working together with the rest of the members of the leadership team so accountability can be shared. The bottom line performance, an agency’s accountability and best use of taxpayer funds need to be a collaborative effort in order to get the best results. Agency heads will be designating suitable CHCO candidates that will meet the agency’s standards.

Potential Concerns In a proposed fiscal year 2019 budget proposal, there are specific proposals that could have large impacts on federal employees. An accompanying document called “Major Savings and Reforms” outlines many of the specific changes that they are looking to make. Many of the more impactful proposed changes would affect federal retirement benefits. A vast majority of the changes are not totally new and have been seen in previous budget proposals. COLAs – Cost of Living Adjustments would be removed for those that are retired under the Federal Employees Retirement System (FERS) and for those retired under the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS) can expect a 0.5% reduction. The propos-

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al notes that this would actually bring the compensation more in line with the private sector: “FERS and CSRS COLAs for annuitants are currently determined based on statutory formulas tied to the Consumer Price Index. However, FERS annuitants are somewhat protected from economic effects, because their retirement packages include Social Security benefits and TSP, in addition to the FERS annuity…”

Employee Portions of FERS Retirement Contributions Raised An additional proposal for the FY 2019 budget includes an increase of the employee share of contributions to the federal employees under FERS. It would specifically raise the employee contributions to 50% of the cost but plans to slowly phase it in so as to not cause too much of an impact. For certain federal employee categories, like firefighting and law enforcement, employee contributions would increase. However, the government would also continue to fund a higher share of the normal cost. To justify the reason for these changes as well as many others, the report also states that the findings of a 2017 Congressional Budget Office report were a huge motivator since it showed that federal employees were paid 17% more than their private-sector counterparts, on average.

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Nutrition Spotlight:

Eggplant Eggplants are very recognizable due to their signature purplish color and unique teardrop shape, which leads to them being called aubergines in parts of the world. While the assumption is that eggplants are vegetables due to their more savory and bitter quality, eggplants are actually classified as a fruit. Similarly to other fruits and vegetables like carrots and tomatoes, eggplants are available in a variety of colors, but the classic purple color is by far the most known. In the United States, California, Florida, and Georgia represent the places where eggplants are grown the most. Health Benefits of Eggplants When looking for ingredients and healthy food options, eggplant is not mentioned as often as things like avocado, salmon, and carrots. However, eggplants have a huge variety of vitamins and nutrients, but since there is not an overwhelming amount of one specific nutrient, it is often ignored when

looking for healthy components of a dish. Eggplants have large amounts of potassium, fiber, folate, and manganese, as well as great amounts of magnesium, vitamins C, K, and B6, phosphorus, copper, thiamin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. Here are some of the most helpful benefits of incorporating eggplant into your diet: Protect Against Cancer There are 13 different types of phenolic acids in significant levels in eggplant which has a protective effect on the body. While different eggplants can have different levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients, they all similarly have the ability to fight cancer. Eggplants contain nasunin, which is a disease-fighting component as well as other phytonutrients like chlorogenic acid which is found in the cell walls of many plants. Phytonutrients are known to assist in stopping free radicals which can lead to tumor growth and cancerous cells forming. Helps to Lower Cholesterol Due to its ability to fight inflammation and oxidative stress, eggplants have shown through studies that they are beneficial to heart health. This leads to much healthier arteries and a more balanced level of cholesterol. The phytonutrients also have the ability to improve circulation, which reduces plaque buildup in the main arteries, including the most important ar-

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tery: the aorta. Your body does need some cholesterol, but eggplant is successful in helping the body find a positive balance. Improving the Digestive Health A major component of eggplant is water, which helps to keep it so low in calories. Eating vegetables and fruits with high water and fiber contents help the body to flush out the toxin and waste in the digestive tract. Keeping your colon and digestive tract well hydrated is the key to easily pushing stool through the intestines and out of the body. Bone Building A cup of eggplant contains about 5% of your daily manganese intake. Manganese is a mineral that only occurs naturally in the body in small amounts. The rest must be absorbed through diet. Manganese is an antioxidant, so it works to seek out and eliminate free radicals before they can cause harm or stress to the body. Manganese is also responsible for helping to form healthy bone structure. It makes calcium be used properly by the body to create the essential enzymes for the growth of strong bones. Energy Source When looking to boost energy, many people turn to a B Vitamin Complex, but eggplants actually contain a good amount of Vitamin B1 and Vitamin B6. B vitamins are required to maintain healthy energy levels, heart health, brain function, metabolism, and focus. Prevention of Skin Cancer A highly concentrated cream that is made from eggplant skin extract has shown the ability to fight skin cancer. The main component, solasodine rhamnosyl glycosides (BEC), has been shown to be an effective treatment for several types of skin cancers.

Key Pointers For Youth

Athletic Development By Archibald C Elliott

As many people know, there are ever-changing dynamics involved in the transition between adolescence and adulthood for youngsters participating in athletics. Sometimes, as adults, we prioritize excellence and forget to add a key factor in the ingredients of success for our youth and that key factor is FUN!!! As a youth performance coach located in the beautiful city of Houston, I’ve encountered several situations where parents wanted success more than their child, who was involved in the activity, wanted it. From a psychological point-of-view, this can cause a lot of tension between both parties and can lead to disappointment and resentment from the child. Before enrolling your child into any extracurricular activity, please make sure that they are truly motivated in participating. Parent education is an essential component in advancing your young athlete to the next level. Here are a few key points when making this very important decision: 1. There is a big myth that weightlifting can stunt the growth of youth. The misinformation began from a study conducted in the 1970s in Japan where scientists monitored the youth working in Japanese

labor plants. The results showed that the children who were significantly smaller were the ones who worked in labor plants. It had nothing to do with lifting weights as other factors affected their development. Over time, somehow this information was not articulated clearly and as a result this myth was born. If done properly, lifting weights can be quite beneficial to a developing young athlete.

away from their child’s ability to become dominant in a sport. That’s one of the biggest myths out there. The numbers actually suggest that 85 percent of the youth who don’t play multiple sports are prone to injuries of the lower extremities and also overuse injuries. Getting your young athlete into multiple sports can be very positive from a neurological standpoint when it comes to their development.

2. Nutrition plays a very important role in developing adolescents. The two biggest eating mistakes are portion control and eating foods lacking in nutrition which both can lead to poor performance and childhood obesity. The main “culprit” is sugar, the amount of processed sugars ingested by our youth is at a record high. Most diets prepared for our youth are unknowingly filled with processed sugars. That, paired with the speed at which they eat, will lead to poor eating habits well into adulthood. Water consumption should be a main focal point along with portioned meals. Popular sports drinks and caffeinated drinks are very poor choices for hydration purposes. Remember, water is the universal solvent.

4. Kids should not be treated like mini adults. It’s an absolute necessity to encourage our young developing athletes to train in stages. Learning to lift and how to move is very important. This includes Push, Pull, Jump, and Sprint. KISS is the best acronym to remember: Keep It Simple Stupid. Don’t use gimmicks but do make it fun.

3. A lot of parents think that their child should focus on playing only one sport and that playing multiple sports will take

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Using this formula should put your young, developing athlete well on the road to success. Always remember that they need to train purposefully. “No one trains to get better anymore, they simply go from place to place trying to show how good they are.” -Mike BoyleArchibald C Elliott CEO Symmetry Fitness LLC

Salmon When looking for the main protein for a healthy dish, Salmon is often a go-to meat since it is one of the most nutrient-rich foods that you can get around the world.

Many studies have shown a definite link between consuming salmon and prevention of cancer and heart disease. Many are familiar with the amazing oil content of the fish with high concentrations of omega-3s, but many are not as familiar with the long list of additional nutrients that salmon contains.

Salmon Health Benefits Salmon, when it is caught wild and not farm raised, is one of the healthiest options available. The long list of nutrients combines together to create a huge variety of health benefits. Here are some of the most popular benefits of consistently incorporating wild caught salmon into your diet: • Whole-body health – Salmon contains a huge amount of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Selenium, Vitamin B3, Omega-3 fatty acids, Protein, Phosphorus, Vitamin B6, Iodine, Vitamin B5, Biotin, Potassium, and Choline. • Bone and joint health – The calcium and Vitamin D in salmon helps to keep the bones in good shape, and a diet loaded with omega3 fatty acids is shown to help curb inflammation, which can keep the joints healthy. • Brain and neurological repair – To keep the brain functioning properly, omega3 fatty acids are ideal. Salmon is often recommended for this because of the cleanliness of the fish and the plentiful supply of omega-3 fatty oils. • Prevent ADHD – Omega-3 fatty acids are shown to improve the mental focus and

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cognitive function in those with ADHD. • Heart health – Most people have too many omega-6 fatty acids in their bloodstream, but consuming salmon regularly helps to raise the omega-3 fatty acid levels and helps to maintain a balance between the two. Research shows that keeping the two in balance is a successful way to lower the risk for heart disease. • Improved eyesight – The omega-3 fatty acids found in Salmon have been shown to reduce the chances of Age-Related Macular Degeneration and to help those with dry eye disease. The high vitamin D count also benefits eye health. • Fight cancer – Inflammation is known to be the root of many chronic diseases as well as cancer. Salmon is an excellent weapon against inflammation since eating more salmon helps to reduce the markers of inflammation and can, therefore, reduce the risk of cancer in many people. • Skin health – A component found in salmon called Astaxanthin is an antioxidant that can benefit the heart, brain, nervous system and also promotes skin health. Astaxanthin can actually prevent skin damage and can make a person look younger. The combination of nutrients, vitamins, and protein that are found in Salmon are a super healthy combination that can help a vast variety of people. Luckily, Salmon is also delicious in a variety of preparations. Here is one of our most popular and healthy recipes:

Easy Oven Baked Salmon Recipe The smartest way to prepare salmon is to keep it simple! Do not overthink it or make extra steps if they are not necessary. Keep seasoning simple – salt and pepper with a touch of oil are usually enough. Simply bake until the flesh turns opaque and the fish flakes easily. Squeeze a bit of lemon over the top to taste.

Ingredients: 12-ounce salmon fillet (divided into four even pieces) Olive oil Coarse salt

Ground black pepper Lemon wedges

Directions: • Oven – preheat to 450 degrees and use foil or parchment paper to line a baking sheet • Drizzle a little olive oil on each piece of fish and spread them evenly throughout the pan before sprinkling with salt and pepper. Bake until opaque, usually just 10 – 12 minutes.

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Pomegranate Nutrition Spotlight:

When pomegranates are mentioned, some people think of a beautiful and exotic looking red fruit, while others just think of the hassle of dealing with each of the jewel-shaped seeds. Despite a tough skin, the health benefits are worth the extra work that can go into eating a pomegranate. Despite being tiny, the bright red seeds and actually packed full of nutrients. A component that people don’t recognize is called punicalagin, and it is this potent nutrient that is responsible for the majority of the antioxidant power found in pomegranate juice. Pomegranate Juice When looking for antioxidant protection, pomegranate juice is the winner. It has more antioxidants than cranberry juice, red wine, grape juice, green tea, or even the incredibly popular acai juice. Consistently drinking pomegranate juice helps to greatly reduce the number of free radicals and their toxic effects on a human being. Study after study consistently shows that this amazing fruit’s antioxidant levels are helpful when battling cancer, cognitive impairment, or heart disease. History of the Pomegranate Pomegranates were a traditional symbol of fertility with images of the fruit captured in art, cultural and religious images throughout history. Shakespeare, the Bible and Greek mythology all mention pomegranates at one point or another. In fact, pomegranates are regarded as the fruit that humans have been cultivating the longest.

Pomegranates have always been present in Middle Eastern cooking, and thanks to the impressive health benefits and unique flavor, they have begun to be very popular in America. Within each fruit are hundreds of tiny seeds with a perfect combination of sweet and tart. Perfect for cooking or for snacking. Pomegranate Health Benefits Pomegranate is a stealth cancer fighter. The anti-inflammatory aspect of pomegranates helps them to ward off cancer and other similar chronic diseases. The anti-angiogenic properties can help to stop the growth of tumors altogether by obstructing the supply of blood that works to nourish the detrimental masses. Aromatase inhibitors are hard to find, but pomegranates are one of the few foods that contain them. So eating pomegranates works to naturally decrease estrogen production which helps to reduce the risk of breast cancer. Additional studies have also shown that drinking pomegranate juice or taking supplements after treatment for prostate cancer actually delayed the increase in the prostate-specific antigen.

Studies have also been conducted to find the link between pomegranate and reduction of artery blockages. A group of patients was studied for a year, with each drinking just once small ounce of pomegranate juice every single day. There was a noticeable 30% drop in atherosclerotic plaque and a 9% increase in artery blockages for those that did not drink the miracle juice. Defends Memory and Brain Function Those that suffer from mild memory loss report massive and measurable increases in their brain activation when they drink pomegranate juice every day. Other studies are showing that taking a pomegranate supplement before and after a coronary artery bypass or heart valve surgery, the postoperative memory dysfunction that is commonly associated with both procedures can be prevented. Skipping pomegranates because they are a hassle to open is no excuse! It’s easy to maneuver once you get the knack but also look for juice and supplements if that makes it easier. When looking for a pomegranate, look for a reddish or brownish exterior that has a good amount of weight to it. The seeds are delicious when they are fresh from the fruit, but can also be frozen and taken out as needed during the offseason. Some grocery stores may also have containers of the seeds ready to go! Avoid the work and enjoy the benefits.

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It is common knowledge that physical activity, such as exercising or playing sports, has a beneficial effect on a person’s overall well-being and health. Consistent physical activity is also responsible for the reduction of the odds of acquiring heart disease and diabetes, as well as lowering your blood pressure. Another huge benefit of exercising and working out is concerned with your mental health. Physical activity helps to improve a person’s mood and helps them to avoid depression. But what about your mental focus? Can exercising help to improve this as well? Keep reading as we explore the connection between physical activity and keeping your attention. Many studies have been conducted recently to explore if physical activity and mental focus are connected. Some of these studies do show that exercise and other similar physical activities can ignite positive changes in your brain that boost not only the mood but also increase the focus and attention. It is often recommended that exercise is conducted in conjunction with medicines that are prescribed to battle against ADHD. The exercise triggers the release of hormones that can ease pain and help you to stay focused. To reap the benefits of exercise, a person does not need to be a bodybuilder or a marathon runner. Activities as simple as walking through your neighborhood

make a huge difference in your overall focus and health.

for f o r t y minutes is enough to help you to improve your focus. There are many practical ways to incorporate physical activity into your life, including taekwondo, ballet, gymnastics, yoga—just to name a few.

Moving your body in a specific way, like these activities demand forces your body to concentrate and turns on your attention system. Physical activities that your body has to put more work on are ideal since it opens up your attention to not only this task but also focuses your overall attention. Starting off a day at school, or a day at work, or an intense writing session, with a short combination of stretching and exercises can allow for better focus for the rest of the day. If just getting started, don’t feel the need to push yourself too hard with overwhelming and intense workouts. Early on, basic exercises can work wonders and help you focus immensely. Start by looking online for workout suggestions that work for you. Even just starting out a few minutes a day can

To make sure that you keep incorporating physical activity, a helpful method is to find a hobby that aligns with your interests but also involves physical activity. Perfect examples include hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, or ice skating. The best strategy is a focus on regular, moderately intense exercise. This helps the overall body stay at a healthy weight, keep the blood pressure at a healthy level, improve energy, lower stress, and anxiety, lift the mood, and help to keep the heart healthy. All of this together contributes differently to the overall brain health. In addition, exercise also works to stimulate brain regions that focus on the memory functions to release brain-derived neurotrophic factor, a chemical that is responsible for actually rewiring the memory circuits, so they work better. It is actually a very simple equation: When you exercise and move around, you are forcing your body to use more brain cells, and using more brain cells tells your brain to make more brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which helps to make you more focused. So next time you are at your desk and get a case of brain fog, take a quick break and walk around the block to make that brain up a bit.

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Reduce Belly Fat with These Exercises Ask anyone what they wish they could improve about their body and the majority will say they wish they had a tight and flat stomach.


nfortunately, many people rely on crunches and sit-ups to get the results that they want, but these archaic exercises only target the sides and front of the abdomen, which does not give the all-around tight look that people wish they had. In order to get the amazing chiseled abs, you see in movies and magazines, a larger focus on the abs as well as core muscles, upper thighs, hips and lower back. HOW TO LOSE BELLY FAT While exercising and having a muscular mid-section is one thing, it is quite another to lose the belly fat that could be covering up this hard work. An ideal option is to incorporate several stabilization moves into your workouts focused on the core. More and more trainers are turning their clients on to the simple and amazing benefits of the plank. With no large movements, many people doubt the benefits of planks, but it is ideal for stabilizing the pelvis and spine in addition to the core. Planks work to improve the posture and to also strengthen the lower back muscles. With so many large muscle groups working simultaneously, planks are an ideal exercise to burn belly fat. Ditch the crunches that

are not effective and instead add planks to your routine to help lose belly fat and get on the right path to a stronger core and flatter stomach. EXERCISES TO LOSE BELLY FAT Here are some of the most popular and common exercises that can help you shred that unwanted belly fat: Side Plank: A side plank is a challenging advancement of a standard plank that requires you to hold the position and support the entire body with just two points of contact. With proper positioning, your core works hard to remain stable. Start by lying on your side with elbow lined up right beneath your shoulder and with your straight legs stacked. Place your right hand on your right hip or shoulder. While engaging your abs, move your hips upward while balancing using your forearm. Your body should look like a diagonal line. After holding for about 30 to 45 seconds, repeat on the other side of the body. Walkout from Pushup Position: While advanced this workout is amazing for involving the whole body during the move-

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ment, meaning you can work your extremities while strengthening the core. Get in a traditional position for a pushup, with your hands 2-inches wider than the length of your shoulders. Then slowly walk your hands out as far as you can go and then walk the arms back. Complete 10 – 12 reps. Want increased intensity? Try it with one leg lifted. Alligator Drag: This exercise combines stability, cardio training, and strength training, so consistently executing it can help to burn belly fat fast. The entire core is needed to stabilize the body during the exercise, so the added extra movement can help to burn calories. You will need an open area of floor that will allow you to move forward 10 – 20 yards. Also, use objects that can glide across the floor easily. On carpet, try plastic bags or plates, and on tiles or wood floor, try a towel. Start in a pushup position and put your hands on the objects to help you glide. Walk forward by using your hands until you get to the end of your workout space. Rest for 60 to 90 seconds and then repeat the movement back to where you began.


HUGE Magazine Summer 2018  

This month’s cover honoree is Mr. Kailee Wong, NFL Alumni (Minnesota Vikings and “Original” Houston Texan). Kailee suffered a pretty seri- o...

HUGE Magazine Summer 2018  

This month’s cover honoree is Mr. Kailee Wong, NFL Alumni (Minnesota Vikings and “Original” Houston Texan). Kailee suffered a pretty seri- o...