Professional football player Cam Newton—who plays the quarterback position for the Carolina Panthers—is returning to the field this week after a debilitating shoulder injury and sprained foot. Newton adopted a plant-based diet in February and credits the change for his fast recovery. “I feel like a rookie again,” Newton—who is returning for his ninth NFL season—told ESPN. “Vegan. Vegan strong. That helps a lot. I’ve been a vegan all year, and I don’t think I’m going back. I feel good. I recover well. And that’s pretty much what it’s all about. It’s not putting certain things in your body that is going to combat your body trying to recover. You want to put things in your body that is going to expedite that whole process.” Newton will take on the Los Angeles Rams—the reigning National Football Champions—in the Carolina Panthers’ season opening game on September 8 in Los Angeles.

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