Barrett Murphy, former head coach at Catholic High, Belaire High and East Ascension High, has been named the 2019 Instructor of the Year by the Silversneakers organization.
Silversneakers is the organization that provides free health and wellness classes for seniors, paid for through most Medicare insurance plans.
Murphy is 81-years-old and is using his past in athletics and coaching to help seniors around the capital city stay fit and active.
“One of the things I preach a lot is sitting will kill you” Murphy joked. “It’s just as bad as alcohol, drugs, all cancer… if you stay active your years of longevity will increase” he said.
It’s a message 65-year-old Jane Bahlinger knows all too well.
“My sense of confidence and well-being has changed tremendously so it’s been a life changing experience for sure” she said.
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2002, she admits accepted defeat early on.
“I really had no hope of getting where I am in terms of progressing where I am” Bahlinger said. “I was really just kind of settling for and accepting the progressive deterioration” Bahlinger said.
“I was really having falls pretty regularly and I hardly ever fall anymore. My left side is weak but it’s gotten so much stronger has been incredible. Just getting in and out of a chair is easier now it’s been dramatic” Bahlinger said.
In addition to the physical, there are social benefits for these groups of silversneakers superstars.
“There is a blended culture here that is just wonderful and rich. We miss each other when someone is out, and we check on each other it’s a powerful experience” Bahlinger said.
Silversneakers named Murphy the 2019 Instructor of the Year.
“I went wow that’s unbelievable. I’m blessed. The good lord gave me a profession that I love and as long as I can do it, I’m going to do it” Murphy said.
He does it by one very important motto: Don’t let the old folks in!
“Don’t let that old idea of being- getting in your body- that you’re old you can fight that. So my motto is don’t let the old folks in” Murphy said.
Murphy teaches classes every week at Spectrum on Perkins in Baton Rouge and Humana Health.