Defensive end Trent Cole remembers how he spent his days growing up in Xenia, Ohio. Whether he was playing football, basketball, riding his bike or hunting, one thing was certain - Cole was always enjoying the outdoors.
Cole notices that kids aren't doing that as much anymore and the stats prove him correct. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention, childhood obesity has doubled in the last 20 years. Just as Cole has developed a reputation for relentlessly attacking opposing quarterbacks, he's using the same approach here.
On Wednesday, Cole was in Washington D.C. to lobby members of Congress to pass legislation that would make exercise equipment a tax deductible medical expense and increase funding to support physical education classes in school. Cole went on behalf of Under Armour, along with former Eagle Herschel Walker, current NFL players Kerry Rhodes, Vernon Davis and Chris Draft and other notable athletes such as soccer greats Mia Hamm and Abby Wambach and Ultimate Fighting champion Matt Hughes among others.
"We went to campaign and push for funding and the creation of programs to help prevent children from becoming obese," Cole said by phone. "We need to be there for these kids so we can have a better society. If we can get everybody in this world to do that, this world wouldn't be where it's at right now."
Since he is originally from Ohio, Cole spent most of the day talking to the representatives from his home state. He also got to be on the floor of the Capitol to watch the proceedings live. Proposals for a bill are still in the works, but according to the Associated Press Rep. Ron Kind from Wisconsin will introduce the legislation.
"I always remember watching TV and they would show the Nation's Capitol," Cole said. "You could see the floor with all of the representatives on it. To actually go in there, sit down and watch it live, that was a great experience. I learned a lot about our nation's history and how the legislation process really works."
Cole is optimistic that a bill will be passed because of the president's regard for the cause.
"President Obama is very interested in child education and health. I don't know what he has planned to do about it, but I know he has an interest in it," Cole said. "There were some (concerns about a bill) because Obama really hasn't presented a budget for it, but a lot of (the representatives) were very interested in it."
After his trip to Washington D.C., could there be a future in politics for Cole? He was very direct and blunt with his answer.
"No ... Never," Cole said. "I liked it, but no. It was a good time, a neat experience."
Cole's main focus on Wednesday was using his status as a Pro Bowl NFL player to push the cause forward.
"When I'm out in public, I want to show kids the right way to do things," Cole said. "Being a role model is very important."