When Leo Papile came to me at the age of 52 he was the VP of Basketball for the Boston Celtics. His travel schedule and diet choices were just the beginning of the challenges that laid ahead. Leo represented the true challenge of rebooting the aging body with over 10 orthopedic injuries to his shoulders, knees, elbows, hips, and back, along with other health concerns. However, once again hard work, focused effort, and a willingness to change old habits brought about a positive life changing transformation.
Leo no longer walks in pain, he jogs pain free. He no longer looks for elevators, he takes the steps two at a time. He set out to get a new lease on life and he has truly MASTERED THE MIDLIFE REBOOT. Below are a few excepts that from a 2006 Boston Herald article that highlights the kick-start that lead to his life altering reboot.
Leo Papile, his back flat on the infield of the Boston Sports Club’s upstairs track in Waltham, sounded like a torture victim as he let out a loud, beefy groan.
Hank DeGroat, the trainer and fitness author who has accepted the bizarre task of pushing the 270-pound, 52-year-old Papile into boxing shape, responded by pressing Papile’s left leg even further back, with the knee now at chest level.
“Oh, oh,” Papile huffed. “Oh, yeah, OK, that’s where the injury kicks in.”
The appropriate question here is: “Which injury?” Papile has had five surgeries on his left knee alone, dating back to a torn ACL in 1971 while playing football for North Quincy High School.
And yet, as he nears the far end of middle age, the Celtics’ assistant director of basketball operations, after managing several boxers through his Boston Amateur Basketball Club (BABC), now wants to become a professional club fighter……….
……“I noticed at my house and at the backdoor (at the practice facility) that I was really pulling on the banister to get up the stairs,” he said. “That’s when I bottomed out, and that’s when I went to Hank and Dr. McKeon. I started with Hank two months before the incident. I couldn’t make it up the stairs.
“Part of what Hank does when he takes you on is to map out your life story, and when he asked what my greatest fear was, I told him in big block letters – ANOTHER INJURY,” he said. “As things started to progress with Hank, I started to wonder where I could go with it.” ‘Rat in the lab’
There’s another way to look at this. Papile, with his crazy assortment of old everyman injuries, decided to give his body to science…….
…… “We try to recreate things without the fresh pounding on his joints,” said DeGroat. “Something like lateral step aerobics can actually be more like movements in the ring that straight running. There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” The best part, according to DeGroat, is the accumulation of evidence. “I have not seen anyone come from where (Papile) was to where he is now – giving the bag hell for nine or 10 rounds,” he said. “If there’s a fountain of youth, then I think Leo’s attitude is that fountain of youth.
“The boxing has given Leo that drive and passion,” said DeGroat. “Whether he takes this further, and does actually box or not, now we know that he’ll be a lifelong exerciser.”
Excerpted from Papile: A man on a mission — Celts VP preps for return to squared circle, Mark Murphy, Boston Herald Wednesday, October 4, 2006