After a year in which he found personal triumph and tragedy, Texans safety Andre Hal reveals that something he did in private helped him get through. Hal attests to the power of meditation for helping him power past a cancer diagnosis as well as losing his father. Those recent hardships gave him a greater appreciation for meditation and a desire to learn more about the practice.
While many are using the offseason to rest, rehab and enjoy family, Hal is doing an internship in Santa Monica, California at Headspace, the phone app that offers guided meditations to listeners.
“I’m definitely a different person,” Hal told reporters last September when he announced that his Hodgkin’s lymphoma was in remission. “Different just spiritually, mentally, physically.”
In a recent profile for The Athletic, Hal says he finds a quiet place inside the Texans training facility to meditate. When he discovered the cancer in his body, Hal even went as far as to purchase a hyperbaric chamber to avoid chemo therapy. He also worked out twice a day at the team facility and underwent treatment at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
The same week he resumed practicing after announcing the diagnosis, his father died of a heart attack. Hal made his season debut that Sunday, days after his dad’s death, in Jacksonville.
“It was so much going on, and I was trying to just keep it together for everyone that’s around me,” Hal said. He added, “Meditation might be kind of like coping, but I think it’s more than coping. When you cope, you feel bad about it, but I didn’t feel bad about it. I wasn’t in my bed crying the whole time. I didn’t stop living. (So meditation is) more than coping. It prepares your mind for the stuff that might happen.”
Hal was voted the Ed Block Courage Award winner by the Texans in December.
“Meditation really helps me be able to control my body and be able to focus on what I really need to do because this is my job,” Hal says. “Let me focus on my job, so I can be good — and make some money.”