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Cover Story
Trace Adkins

Benisse Lester, M.D.
Running healthy

Best Life
A trainer's secrets to staying fit and motivated

Nathan Browne, D.C.
Keeping control

Mario Ojeda Jr
Pass the oil, please

Joseph Yao, M.D.
Preventing hand numbness

Marie Rodriguez
Mind, Body and Spirit

Highway Angels
Motorist grateful for driver's act of kindness

Fun & Games
Best excuse

Salena Lettera
Designer Italian shoes not necessary for good health

Industry News

It's news to me!


Publisher's Desk
Plenty to be thankful for this holiday season

Murphy's World
Win-win-win situation

Driven Women

Say What?
What makes a good dispatcher?


Personality Profile

Trace Adkins

The talented, tough and tender sides of a country music superstar

Country music superstar. Actor. Author. Reality show finalist. Commercial and charity spokes-person. Husband. Father of five daughters.

Trace Adkins, 48, has seen and done it all during a mercurial career that began in small-town Louisiana when his father taught him to play the guitar, took off in the 1990s after he was "discovered" by a record executive while performing at honky-tonks, and has soared to stratospheric heights over the last decade boosted by a string of No. 1 singles, top-selling albums and sold-out concerts.

Thanks to his remarkable range of achievements, charismatic personality, deep baritone voice and 6'6"-former-college-football-player physique, Adkins is seemingly larger than life, but his road to the top was full of twists, turns and near-tragedies.

As a youth, Adkins broke his arms, a leg and several ribs and had his nose practically ripped off in a car accident. A severe knee injury ended his football career at Louisiana Tech. He accidentally sliced a finger off and had it re-attached at a certain angle so he could play the guitar. An ex-wife once tried to settle an argument with a .38 pistol. The bullet went through both his lungs and heart, but Adkins survived.

Needless to say, Adkins is tough as nails and has the scars to prove it, but he also has an incredible soft spot in his heart for good causes such as the Wounded Warrior Program (which aids severely wounded vets) and the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (which is near and dear to his heart for very personal reasons). Driver HEALTH found out more about both those topics when we recently talked to him for the following interview:

You're a huge country music star, but you were no doubt introduced to millions of new fans based on your appearance on "Celebrity Apprentice" two years ago. I understand you did it for your daughter, Brianna. If you will, please share the story.

Well, a good friend of mine, Chuck LaBella, who had been a talent booker on Bill Maher's "Politically Incorrect" show was wrangling talent for ‘Apprentice.' Chuck and I have been friends for a long time. Chuck called me and asked if I had any interest in doing this "Apprentice" thing. I told him I had no desire to do reality television.
Chuck, being the savvy guy that he is, went around me and went to my wife Rhonda and said, "Look, this will be a great opportunity. It's going to be all about charity, and I know you and Trace have been working with this food allergy cause." After that, Rhonda just came to me and said, "You're doing the ‘Apprentice' thing."

As a parent, dealing with a potentially life-threatening food allergy involving your daughter must have been a frightening experience. How did it change your life?

The first time that she had a reaction was the first time she was exposed to peanut butter. Neither Rhonda nor myself had any experience with food allergies, and it completely wigged us out. It was our first trip to the emergency room, and it scared us to death because we didn't know what we were dealing with. She has given us a scare a couple of times since then, but that first one was just traumatic.

You did a summer-long tour with Toby Keith, a follow up to your "America's Toughest Tour" with Toby last year. You must spend more time on the road than an over-the-road truck driver. How do you stay fit and healthy on the road?

I need to get back into that healthy habit. I've been backsliding a little bit this year. It takes a lot of discipline to have any kind of healthy routine on the road. It really takes commitment, and it is something that you have to be conscious about all the time. You can't just be-bop through your day not thinking about it. You have to make health a priority and really watch what you eat. You have to make an effort to get some exercise. It's just something that you just have to do if you're going to have any kind of longevity in this business.

You graduated from the school of hard knocks. Serious auto accident, the knee injury that ended your football career at Louisiana Tech, nearly losing a finger, a gunshot wound, barroom brawls. What did you learn from all that mayhem?

What not to do.

That's it?

The most beneficial lessons I've learned in my life are the ones where you learn not to repeat the kind of activity that got you into a mess in the first place.

Speaking of pain, your dueling pain powder commercial spots with Richard Petty are priceless. Your thoughts on the King?

Oh yeah. He is, wow, what do you say about Richard Petty? He's a legend. When I have had the opportunity to spend time with him - and I've had the chance to do that now on three or four occasions - it never has gotten any easier for me. I've never gotten really comfortable around him because of the reverence and respect that I have for him.
Someone said that you never want to meet the people that you idolize, the people that you look up to as legends, because the human side of them will always let you down. But Richard Petty is the real deal, a class act, a great guy...and the best racecar driver in history.

Watching NASCAR and listening to country music are two favorite pastimes of over-the-road drivers. Why are they seemingly genetically drawn to county music?
It's the working man's music...blue-collar music.

I think it's just a natural fit."
Pick up next month's issue of Driver HEALTH to read the second part of the interview in which Trace Adkins talks about his music, his overseas USO performances for the troops, his book and what's left on his bucket list.