Who would have thought that cracking a skull wide open would lead to academic success?
For 8 year old Kimo Alameda getting into a bicycle accident became a life altering path which would open the door to a promising career.
“I was supposed to be a boxer until I got hit by a car while riding my bike,” Alameda said. “I cracked my skull wide open and it left me with a plate in my head.”
Alameda’s sibling would jokingly credit the accident as the reason for his academic success.
“My brother and sisters said the accident realigned my brain cells,” he said.
The accident changed the course of Alameda’s future sports participation as medical advice warned him not to engage in any contact sports, which meant that boxing and football were out of the question.
“I turned to my cousins, the Azevedo family who lived down the street, and they introduced me to the sports of baseball and basketball, which I grew to love,” Alameda said.
Not only did Alameda discover a passion for team sports, he went on to letter all four years in volleyball, basketball, baseball and track in high school.
“Sports run in my family as my mother was a swimmer and my grandpa was a baseball fanatic,” he said. “My father was a basketball star who grew to love the sport of boxing which is where I was supposed to be prior to my accident.”
Alameda had a stellar career in sports at St. Joseph his freshman and senior year and had equal success when he attended Lahaina Luna on Maui his sophomore and junior years.
Hawaii Loa College, now Hawaii Pacific College, offered him a basketball scholarship where he excelled both on the court and in the classroom.
“Sports kept me in line and I believe that engaging in multiple sports provided me with more options to stay healthy later in adulthood,” he said.
Dr. Alameda took full advantage of his sports and academic opportunities. He earned a PhD and today is the Statewide Director of the Department of Health, Office of Health Equity.
“I’m the health advocate for individuals who are marginalized from the mainstream for whatever reason,” he said.
The goal of Alameda’s is to work to convince state and county government that health is more than just eating right and exercising.
“I’ve always believed that the individual health choices we make really depend on the health choices we have,” he said. “Not every community has the same health options such as sidewalks, bike paths, affordable fruits and vegetables, safe parks, healthy school lunches and so on.”
Alameda is not just an advocate for good health, he also serves as a role model with his active lifestyle and healthy diet.
“I try to model a healthy life style by exercising as much as I can,” he said. “If I’m not playing basketball during my lunch break with the police and fire employees or jogging around the block where I live, then I’m running with the kids I coach at our practices.”
Alameda tries to fit his exercise routine around his work and family life schedules. His personal rule is to do something each day for an hour.
Married for 17 years Alameda has seven children ranging in age from a sophomore at Hilo High to a toddler that will start preschool next year.
“My kids are very active and fairly healthy,” he said. “We have a rule that each child must engage in at least one sport and this is to encourage them to get away from the electronics and to adopt the habits of a healthy life style.”
This busy professional also manages to find the time to have an athletic association called “Rise Above” which has teams in youth basketball, baseball, volleyball and track and a health show that airs every Monday/Tuesday night at 7:30 on Na Leo Hawaii’s Ch 54.
“Sunday is always a rest day for me and my family which is a time where we catch up on our sleep and reconnect with family and friends,” Alameda said. “I think it all works out for a pretty balanced lifestyle.”
As for diet Alameda will stay away from the three whites!
“When I say staying away from the 3 whites, I not talking about people,” he said with a wide grin. “Its white rice, white bread and white sugar.”
Alameda 3 whites contribute to increased sugar levels which can clog arteries, hamper digestion, and increase feelings of sluggishness.
“I don’t drink alcohol or coffer and I don’t smoke,” Alameda said. “I make it a point to drink lots of water and, because our bodies heal and recover in our sleep, I try to get a solid 6 to 8 hours of sleep each day.”
Alameda will jog regularly, but claims he doesn’t really enjoy it.
“I’d rather run in an effort to chase somebody down or prevent an opponent from making a basket,” he said. “Even when I’m jogging in my neighborhood, I will usually sprint the length of a telephone pole, then jog a length, and rotate until the jog is over.”
This type of run/jog routine is helpful to Alameda’s active basketball play which makes him more able to run up and down the court in brief spurts.
“I’m sure I get at least an hour a day of exercise, whether it’s jogging or playing basketball,” he said. “An hour a day keeps the doctor away is my mantra.”
Alameda serves as an excellent role model for health and fitness as he takes care of all the necessary areas of good health by getting a good night’s sleep, maintaining a positive attitude, regular physical exercise, eating right and having a close relationship with family.
“In addition I manage my stress, become less judgmental, whisper more often, and keep a clear mind which for me involves prayer or quiet time.
And someday should you happen to see a jogger with a positive attitude remember to smile, say “woof” and never shy away from “Running with the Big Dog.”