Saturday, April 21, 2018
Spirit of Wellness Rasnick leads class of health inspirations

by David Mendez, Easy Reader News

At the Beach Cities Health District’s 2018 Spirit of Wellness awards last Thursday at the Portofino Inn Hotel and Marina, personal trainer Derick Malit told the story of Rick “Razz” Rasnick.

“Whenever I train with him, I see the positive attitude, and the person who wants to shine,” Malit said. “He takes that extra effort to do everything the harder way. At the end of the session, I’m tired.”

The Torrance native was among the fastest rising young stars within football’s coaching ranks, before having it all taken away by early-onset Alzheimer’s.

During his playing days, Rasnick held down offensive lines, playing center for both North Torrance High School and San Jose State University.

After finishing his playing career, Rasnick moved into the coaching ranks. At 27, Rasnick became SJSU’s offensive coordinator, one of the youngest people in the country to hold that position. After coaching at the University of Utah and Eastern Michigan University, Rasnick was offered a job with the National Football League’s Detroit Lions, though he turned it down to return home to the South Bay.

As the years passed, Rasnick’s loved ones began to notice the changes; he became forgetful, and would become suddenly confused. In 2013, he was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease, a neurodegenerative disease with no known cure. Memories fade, language disappears, and motor skills fall apart.

Rasnick is taken care of by his parents, Donna and Jim Rasnick, and his girlfriend Annette Adam, who stayed by his side

For the last year, Rasnick has worked out at BCHD’s Center for Health and Fitness with Malit. Over that time, Malit has worked to connect with Rasnick for their workouts. What it takes, Malit said, is to find what’s second-nature.

“All I have to do is find a trigger-point, and it’s different every time,” Malit said. “That’s when his personality shines; he cracks jokes, he’ll talk about football, and then it vanishes. But trigger it again, and he’ll continue the story.”

Once Rasnick gets going, his muscle memory is still razor sharp – the former lineman will go above and beyond standard exercises, going straight to jump squats and burpees.

Rasnick was honored with the award and a video that featured interviews and well-wishes from friends and loved ones.

“I want to tell you how impressive you are, not only what you’ve done with your life, but what you’ve done for others, and how you’ve inspired them,” said Rasnick’s son, Blair. “That’s something I want to hold true throughout my life.”

Other honorees throughout the evening included Richard Lawson, who battled through a heart transplant and has recovered through regular workouts at the Center for Health and Fitness; and Corey Newman, a mother who trains to keep herself strong to care for Joe, her teenage son with special needs.


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