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Former Nittany Lion battling ALS writes book about living life fully

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Kevin Swan, with the help of his mother Julie Swan and his girlfriend Elizabeth Perron, began A Life Story Foundation after his diagnosis. The nonprofit hopes to raise awareness and raise money to find a cure.
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Kevin Swan, with the help of his mother Julie Swan and his girlfriend Elizabeth Perron, began A Life Story Foundation after his diagnosis. The nonprofit hopes to raise awareness and raise money to find a cure.

There are consequences to leading a very accomplished life, chief among them being that you have to write a book.

Chances are that Tim Shaw’s name will ring a bell or two — linebacker for the Tennessee Titans, Nittany Lion, ALS fighter — and all are probably pretty compelling reasons to check out “Blitz Your Life” an autobiography/inspirational tome that dropped into bookstores a few weeks ago.

The book, which Shaw wrote with Belmont University associate professor Ben Sowienski, includes interviews with athletes, business leaders and musicians to provide that extra dollop of motivational panache.

Below, Shaw talks life in and out of the NFL, the challenges of cramming life onto a page and his pick for this year’s Super Bowl.

Q: How did your time at Penn State help to shape you as a football player? How did it help to shape you as a person?

A: At Penn State, I had to grow up and decide what type of a man I wanted to be. The lessons I learned about character and leadership under all the coaches at Penn State were invaluable. I learned how to deal with adversity and how to maintain integrity through tough times. This helped me both in life and football.

Q: Was a career in the NFL always your ultimate goal?

A: It was always a goal, but not the ultimate goal. I knew there had to be more to life than football, so as I pursued football I made sure to prepare for life after football as well. My Penn State education helped me with that greatly.

Q: Why was it time to write this book?

A: What I have been through in my life has been pretty unique and what I’m going through now is very unique. I felt like it was time to put my thoughts down in a clear manner and see if I could impact people with a positive message.

Q: Who do you think the audience is for this story?

A: Anybody who wants more out of life or believes that they were made for more.

Q: How did that impact the type of book that you set out to write?

A: I just wanted to be real and knew that as long as I keep it real this book will impact whoever it is meant to.

Q: How does the discipline required to write a book compare with the discipline required to excel in professional football?

A: Both take a certain level of focus and determination, but like anything, if you keep the goal in mind and keep taking steps toward the goal you can accomplish it.

Q: What advice would you give to others who are thrown by a sudden and unexpected development in their life?

A: Whatever you are going through it is always for more than just you. There is most likely something in it for others as well, so you need share your dream with others.

Q: Who are you rooting for in Sunday’s Super Bowl?

A: Rooting for Atlanta, but I won’t bet against the Patriots.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready

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