Lattimore gets endorsement deal

Running back Marcus Lattimore makes a catch during South Carolina's NFL football pro day on Wednesday, March 27, 2013 in Columbia, S.C. (AP Photo/Rainier Ehrhardt)

Nike, Wheaties, Gatorade.

It’s arguably the ultimate sports endorsement trifecta.

But Medicaid?

As unglamorous as health insurance for the poor may sound, that’s exactly what former South Carolina running back and San Francisco 49ers rookie Marcus Lattimore has signed on to promote.

His paid contract with First Choice by Select Health of South Carolina was announced Tuesday. Select Health is one of several insurance companies that contracts with the state government to manage Medicaid plans for residents across South Carolina.

The deal was announced Tuesday and is only one of many endorsements that Lattimore, 21, has signed this spring, including a contract with Under Armour, an athletic apparel company.

Lattimore suffered two major knee injuries at South Carolina, including last October against Tennessee, but hopes to play for the 49ers sometime this season.

A graduate of Byrnes High School in Duncan, he set USC records for rushing touchdowns (38) and total touchdowns (41). Lattimore rushed for 2,677 yards, sixth-best in Gamecocks history.

His focus with Select Health will be encouraging teens and young adults with a Medicaid plan to make appointments with their primary care doctors for free annual wellness visits.

“It’s a big part of being healthy,” Lattimore said in a press release. “Going to see your doctor once a year — just doing that little thing — can go a long way. Your doctor needs to check on you and make sure everything is good.”

Select Health will send a taped message from Lattimore encouraging the wellness check-ups to about 7,500 First Choice patients ages 17 to 21 in mid-June.

Lattimore was not available for questions Tuesday. Select Health has not disclosed the financial terms of the endorsement contract.

“We’re very excited that Marcus Lattimore is spearheading our efforts to get adolescents the preventive care they need,” Cindy Helling, executive director of Select Health, said in the press release.

Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.