Published on May 29, 2020

  • COVID-19 has affected how we play and watch sports.
  • Games without fans affect players differently, depending on the sport - a quiet baseball stadium is much different than a quiet football arena.
  • Summer sports and sports camps play a big role in developing teamwork, character, camaraderie, and community, and open doors to friendships.
  • If the kids can't go to camp, parents should bring the camp to the kids.

Video Transcript


DR. JOHN WHYTE: You're watching Coronavirus in Context. I'm Dr. John Whyte, Chief Medical Officer at WebMD. COVID-19 has impacted every aspect of our life, including how we play and how we watch sports. Today, I have a very special guest, Tim Tebow, professional athlete, winner of the 2007 Heisman Trophy Award, the author of three New York Times best-selling books, and college football analyst. Tim, thanks for joining me.

TIM TEBOW: Of course, John. Thanks for having me. How are you doing?

DR. JOHN WHYTE: I'm doing good. How are you doing today?

TIM TEBOW: I'm doing good, thank you. Excited to talk with you.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: Let's start off with the fact that we might be playing sports in stadiums that have no fans. What's the impact on athletes in that situation?

TIM TEBOW: Well, I-- I think it changes based on the sport. Um, I think there are some sports that are greatly enhanced with fans there, where it's the environment. It's home field advantage.

Um, there's a huge difference playing in The Swamp at the University of Florida with 95,000 screaming great-- Gator Nation Crazies versus having it empty. So you talk about college football or the NFL, I think there's a much different home field advantage.

Um, but I think when you talk about baseball, what I'm doing now, I don't think there is that much of an advantage. I don't think it changes the sport that much. I think it's a calmer, more-- more relaxed, kind of grab your hot dog and drink, enjoy the game, and still cheer. But it's not going to change what pitch you throw.

Um, but honestly, in football, it is going to change if I'm going silent cadence versus if I'm, you know, losing my voice because this place is so loud. So I do think it-- it changes a little bit based on the sports. And obviously, we're so passionate here in America about our sports that I feel like you lose a little bit of maybe the-- the-- that, um, not the passion from the players, but sometimes the aura in a stadium with all the fans.

But I honestly think that there are so many people that just can't wait for live sports to be back that the players are going to feel that. Even though people aren't in the stands, they're going to know that there are so many people watching and kind of with them in spirit, per se.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: What do you think the impact is on fans? It's very different being in that stadium, buying that hot dog, going to the concession stand versus watching it in your living room.

TIM TEBOW: I think it's going to be fascinating. I honestly think that whatever sport is really the first one to get back with live sports, I think they're gain a-- going to gain a huge piece of market share, um, because there's so many people that just can't wait to watch sports again, right? And we want to do it in the safest, um, you know, taking care of everybody best way.

But at the same time, you know, I-- I-- I-- think that, you know, I'm-- I catch myself watching, like, 1997 Nebraska versus Missouri on TV, and-- and watching old games. And I'm taping everything. And-- so in my spare time, I can watch, you know, sports because it's just such a part of my life.

Baseball, basketball, football, you know, The Masters, everything, I just get so excited, March Madness. And it's, you know, you miss it so much that I find myself recording every old game of every sport. And I think you're going to see a-- a lot of people tune in to the first sport that's back. And they might not even be fans of that sport. They're just excited to watch sports again.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: Sure. Well, I want to ask you about the importance of sports in-- in your life. You know, a lot of youth sports, the summer camps, are being canceled. Um, my son's Little League is canceled. Soccer may likely be canceled. What role did summer sports have for you when you were growing up?

TIM TEBOW: I gotta-- John, I've got to be honest, it's huge. It's huge as far as development, um, developing character qualities, developing skill sets, developing teamwork, developing camaraderie, um, developing a community. You know, I really believe we were made for a community. We need to be around people. And we need to build friendships and relationships in-- and in a real, authentic way.

And I think sports does such a good job of bringing people from different backgrounds, and different races, and different religions, and different, um, neighborhoods, right? But then you're all of sudden on the same Little League team, on the same high school team. And now you have a common goal. And that common goal is something that-- that-- that opens the door to a friendship that might not have been opened.

And I think it's so powerful. And-- and I'm-- I'm honestly so grateful for sports opening the door to so many friends that I have to this day, um, in baseball, from Venezuela and the DR and in-- in places that-- where I wouldn't have met guys to, you know, in growing up in neighborhoods, and places I traveled that I got to play on teams all over the-- the-- the state, and all over the country. And-- and now I--

DR. JOHN WHYTE: Well, what are kids going to do this summer? What do-- what do you recommend? How-- how are they going to, you know, adapt?

TIM TEBOW: Yeah, I think it's-- it's important to follow the guidelines in whatever they are, wherever they're at. I know, um, certain places here, they're getting close to letting some camps reopen. So what I would say is I think it's really important for the parents to go interact with your kids.

If they're not having a chance to go to camps, then you need to bring that camp to them. You need to go play-- play ball in the yard. Play catch with them.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: I-- I want to talk about health and wellness. You have this interest in helping people to get healthy. We were talking earlier about what you might've eaten, uh, this morning for breakfast. But how are you staying healthy, uh, as we're quarantined inside?

TIM TEBOW: Yeah, it was funny. You know, we were talking about that before we-- we started the show. And I was just saying, you know, today was the day where I was doing some intermittent fasting. And it's something I believe in.

But I'm also, um, very hard on the ketogenic diet. Uh, I've been on keto since 2000-- late 2011. And, um, and I really believe in a healthy lifestyle.

And-- and a lot of people say, oh, I get that because of sports. But honestly, for me, it's not because of sports. It's because, you know, I want to be around one day to have grandkids, and go out in the yard and play ball with them.

And I think it's just, it's so important that we have a lifestyle that gives us a chance to just truly live life to the fullest. And that's how we sleep, what we eat, the supplements we take, how we train, all of that, and really look at it holistically.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: Well, you know, we did a survey on WebMD a few weeks ago, where we found that people gained on average 8 to 9 pounds over the past few weeks. You mentioned keto. Why keto for you, as opposed to, you know, Mediterranean diet, something like that?

TIM TEBOW: Yeah. Um, well, uh, it's-- it was something that I saw some different teammates that I played with in the NFL use. And they were, honestly, freaks. Like and so--

DR. JOHN WHYTE: In a good way. In a good way.

TIM TEBOW: In a good way. Like-- like-- like lifting, and running, and strength. And so it-- that opened my eyes to first look into it.

And I-- I looked into it. And then I talked to a couple different trainers that believed in it. And so then I started it. And honestly, it just had wonderful effects for me.

And, uh, and also, I've got to be honest, uh, my dad has Parkinson's. And, um, and a lot of the-- the experts that we talked to would talk-- and there are so many correlations what I was doing with keto, and what was bad for Parkinson's, and then Alzheimer's, and so many different things about, um, sugar and too many carbohydrates are just poison for you, and how your brain, it so wants to have good fats. And so it was something, when I looked at it, I said, you know what, this isn't just something I want to do for sports. It's something I want to do for a lifestyle.

And so I wanted to-- to choose a diet that I could have for a lifestyle. And it's really worked for me. And-- and I really am a believer that we put a lot of really bad stuff in our body in processed foods, to sugars, to, um, stuff that just really, I mean, to be honest, it's poison, you know?

DR. JOHN WHYTE: What do you have in this? What's-- what's in Tim Tebow's mug?

TIM TEBOW: OK, so in-- in this mug right now, it's, um, it's half-caf coffee.


TIM TEBOW: So there's a little-- little bit of caffeine. There's BHB, which is beta-hydroxybutyrate--


TIM TEBOW: --which I-- I think it's-- it's amazing. And I get a very clean version of it from KetoLogic. And then I have some collagen protein in here--

DR. JOHN WHYTE: All right.

TIM TEBOW: --with a straight heavy cream. So it's a whole lot of fat, a decent amount of protein, and no sugar and carbs.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: Heavy cream, all right, I have to remember that. Now, um, I've been listening to Tim Tebow lectures over the past few days. And there is a theme in them where you talk about, we cannot let moments of adversity define us.


DR. JOHN WHYTE: So, Tim, what advice do you have for listeners? How do they stay positive during the pandemic? You-- you have a-- a lecture where you talk about, this year may not be the year you expected. And that was done prior to this year. So clearly, this is not a year that most people expected. How do you stay positive during these times?

TIM TEBOW: Yeah, that's-- that's a really good question, John. You know, thanks for asking. I think it's important. I think, um, I think faith, hope, and love, I think encouragement right now, I think, um, ha-- having, um, real passion and purpose for things are-- are all things that I think our society needs, and honestly the world needs right now.

And, um, and for me, I think what-- how I would want to encourage all the listeners is to say that, um, this might be a setback. And it might be a knockdown. And it might be a hurdle. And it might be disappointing for you.

But in every one of those ways, it's an opportunity for you to learn, for you to grow, for you to adapt, and for you to be better. And a-- as the story goes, in the mid-1600s, in a pandemic like this, Isaac Newton came up with gravitational theory.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: Did not know that.

TIM TEBOW: And he didn't, you know, wait around saying, there's nothing I can do right now. It was an opportunity where you can have purpose, passion, and meaning, right? You might not be able to do what you want to do. But it doesn't mean that you-- you can't do anything, right? You can do something.

Every day, we have the-- we have the chance and we have a choice to live with purpose, passion, and meaning. And so I want to encourage people that you might not be able to travel the world right now. But you can help your neighbor.

You can find something that you're passionate about. And you can work on it. You can build it. You can make a difference. You can do something.

And so in this disappointing time is a lot of times in life when we learn the most about who we are and who we want to become, because it's not about getting knocked down. And everybody says it's about getting back up. That's not true. It's knowing how to get back up, and why we got knocked down.

So we need to understand the-- the disappointments. And we need to learn from them. And then we get back up.

It's not just about saying, I'm getting back up. It's about understanding the whys and growing from that. And I really believe that we can-- we can bounce back as a society with-- with more sympathy, and more empathy, and more love for people, more caring. And I'll tell you what, in this time, I have seen so many everyday heroes that have rallied together to help their-- their fellow neighbor, their fellow man, their fellow American to make a difference.

And-- and so I would encourage people, it might not be the time that you want to, but it's a time that you're in. And so you need to make the most of it. And we can, together, make the most of it, where we do bounce back from this disappointing time in a truly heroic way.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: I was on your website this morning. And you have a line at the very top, which I was surprised by. So I'm going to ask you about it. It's about living a life of significance.


DR. JOHN WHYTE: So despite all your athletic accolades, your book publishing, right up there is living a life of significance. What does that life look like, Tim?

TIM TEBOW: Well, um, I-- I would say it-- that-- that line, living a life of significance, is probably one of my favorite motivating thoughts and phrases in this world. And I'll tell you why, is because most of the world talks it-- talks about success.


TIM TEBOW: And-- and I want to be successful. I want your viewers to be successful. I think successful, um, trying to be successful is important. But being successful isn't everything.

You see, b-- success is about you, and it's about me. But significance is about other people. So if I'm successful, and I've been blessed to do some cool things, but if all I do is-- is either make money or have a platform or have status, that's not significance. But if I can turn my success into helping other people, now I turn my success into significance.


TIM TEBOW: And I would encourage people that, yes, you can strive to be successful. But it's going to be empty if you don't have significance.

DR. JOHN WHYTE: Well, Tim Tebow, I know you have a lot on your plate. And I want to thank you for coming and-- and taking the time to share your insights on not only about sports but also about resilience, a-- and how we manage during this very stressful time. So thank you, Tim.

TIM TEBOW: Thank you so much. I appreciate it. And I appreciate all your questions and your time. Thank you, John. Really appreciate you.