Staying Strong at 93: A Football Fan’s Secret

By Drew Munhausen

“I’ve had Texans season tickets since their first season in 2002,” Jean Gaines said as she was doing a step-up exercise at the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute Performance Lab. Gaines, a 93-year-old football fan with a determination to stay in shape, visits the Institute twice a week as part of her prescribed physical therapy program.

“I exercise mostly to maintain my strength and balance,” Gaines said. “From the parking lot on game days, I make the walk to the stadium. Once I arrive at the stadium, I take the elevator to get up to my section, but I always use the ramp when I leave after the game is over.”

A lifelong Houstonian and Texas football fan, Gaines  followed the Houston Oilers as a season ticket holder. She attended the 1978  Super Bowl  in New Orleans, where she celebrated the Dallas Cowboys’ win over the Denver Broncos. She has rooted for the Houston Texans since their inception from her designated seat at every home game and follows their away games on television.

Getting Physical to Prevent Falls

Her physician prescribed physical therapy in order to address some of the acute problems associated with aging such as an increased risk of falling. To this end, Gaines looks to Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute to keep up with her strength and conditioning. The Institute offers tailored training to help achieve her goals. Whether the goal is increased strength, improved cardiovascular health or injury prevention, the Institute has specialists who can help everyday athletes achieve their goals.

“Jean is somewhat of a legend at the performance lab,” said Brian Duncan, Director of Human Performance at Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute. “We take a lot of pride in seeing her here multiple times a week achieving her goals. She’s a perfect example of how addressing a patient’s individual needs can help them achieve the best possible outcomes.”

During one workout at the Institute, Gaines pushed a weighted sled, punched the punching bag and got a full-body workout using the battle ropes.

Living Proof That You Can Keep Fit at Any Age

“I feel good, especially after my sessions,” Gaines said. “I have some close friends who have been slowed down by aging, but I am blessed to be able to keep going at a pace that allows me to maintain my normal activities and quality of life. As much as I love attending sporting events, that isn’t why I do this. I want to keep trying to stay in shape so I can be in the best possible health for everyday living.  I am also happy if my efforts can show that there is still so much you can do even as you age.”

Gaines has a lot of family support in Houston, which includes her friends, children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. She draws from this pool of loving supporters to accompany her to the Texans games. Gains said that her current favorite Texans players are JJ Watt, Deshaun Watson and DeAndre Hopkins.

At the Memorial Hermann IRONMAN Sports Medicine Institute, highly trained human performance experts help every athlete—professional, competitive or recreational—to compete at their highest level of performance. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, click here.

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Ali Vise