Sports writers describe Thomas “Hollywood” Henderson as an outrageous, witty and talented athlete. He was a first round draft pick for the Dallas Cowboys and an All-Pro Bowl linebacker…One of the best linebackers in NFL history, in fact. He has been called one of the most flamboyant football players of the seventies. Thomas, however, simply describes himself as a miracle, because despite all fame, glory and talent, he was also a substance abuser.
During his colorful seven-year career as a top NFL player, Thomas played in three Super Bowls. On the field he could woo the crowd with his rare talent. Off the field, he attracted the masses with humor and wit. This combination of talent and flair landed him on the cover of a 1979 issue of Newsweek. He was one of the stars of America’s Team. Alcohol and drug abuse, however, quickly brought his brilliant career to a stunning halt. He lost it all. He lost his career, his family and his friends. Because of alcohol abuse and drug addiction, Thomas even lost himself. Fortunately, in 1983, Thomas’ life began to change. Through therapy and the twelve step programs, Thomas established a new way of living.
He has been clean and sober since November 8, 1983. Today, he travels the world, openly sharing his story. He is a lecturer, an educational filmmaker and a promoter of recovery programs throughout our nation’s criminal justice system. Thomas has also become a community philanthropist in his hometown of Austin, Texas. As founder and chairman of East Side Youth Services and Street Outreach, he has built a stadium in East Austin complete with an 8-lane track…all for the recreational enjoyment of East Austin youth. He is also President and owner of Thomas Henderson Films, ™ an educational video visual aid distribution company that provides the incarcerated community with much needed information on prevention, recovery and sobriety. Thomas has devoted his new life to the prevention of substance and alcohol abuse by helping the youth and the incarcerated individuals of today understand that sobriety is an option.
Thomas is also the author of the best-selling book, Out of Control. His speaking tour has taken him to high schools, college campuses, treatment centers, companies and prisons. Always an interesting and eloquent speaker, Thomas willingly shares his firsthand knowledge of the pain, suffering and helplessness one encounters in the midst of alcohol or drug addiction. He has been from the Super Bowl to the cell block with many horrifying stops along the way. Today he is a new man sharing his story of hope, courage and change…one day at a time.