Vai Sikahema Biography, Wiki, Career, Age, Family, and Net Worth

Vai Sikahema is a former American football player and a television news reporter. He made history by becoming the first Tongan to play in the National Football League (NFL), where he excelled as a running back and kickoff returner during his eight-season NFL career from 1986 to 1993.

Vai Sikahema Biography and Career

His impressive contributions to sports and media have earned him recognition, including his induction into the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia Hall of Fame on November 22, 2013.

Vai Sikahema’s journey in football started at Brigham Young University (BYU) in 1980, where he played for the BYU Cougars. He garnered attention during the 1980 Holiday Bowl by scoring a punt return touchdown, helping BYU secure a thrilling 46-45 victory over SMU.

Following a two-year Mormon missionary service in South Dakota, Sikahema returned to BYU in 1984, where he played a vital role in the Cougars’ claim to college football’s national championship with an unbeaten 13-0 record. He set an NCAA record for most punt returns (153) in a career by the end of his senior year in 1985.

In the 1986 NFL Draft, he was selected by the St. Louis Cardinals, marking a historic moment as the first Tongan to join the NFL. Throughout his NFL career, Sikahema showcased his prowess as a special teams standout, playing for the St. Louis/Phoenix Cardinals, Green Bay Packers, and Philadelphia Eagles. He recorded a total of 8,102 yards from 527 kickoffs or punt returns in 118 career games over eight seasons.

Sikahema’s impressive performances earned him Pro Bowl selections in the 1986 and 1987 seasons. Notably, he became well-known for his “goalpost punching” stunt after scoring a punt return touchdown in a game against the New York Giants in 1992.

Following his retirement from professional football, Vai Sikahema transitioned into a successful career as a television news reporter. He joined WCAU, a Philadelphia-based television station, where he initially worked on weekend sports coverage. Later, he took on a more prominent role as a morning news anchor and the station’s sports director after NBC acquired WCAU.

Throughout his years at WCAU, Sikahema has become a familiar face and a fixture at the station. In addition to his sports reporting, he regularly contributes a column, often focusing on religious topics, to the Deseret News.

Beyond his media career, Vai Sikahema accepted a challenge from former baseball player Jose Canseco for a celebrity boxing match in 2008. Despite Canseco’s impressive martial arts credentials, Sikahema displayed his boxing skills, winning the fight by knockout in the first round.

He graciously donated the $5,000 purse to the family of Sergeant Stephen Liczbinski, a fallen officer of the Philadelphia Police Department.

Vai Sikahema’s journey is marked by achievements both on and off the field, leaving a lasting impact on sports and media.

Vai Sikahema Age

Vai Sikahema was born on 29 August 1962, Nuku Ľalofa, Tonga. He grew up partly in Tonga before his family immigrated to the U.S.

Vai Sikahema Family

Sikahema was born in the capital of Tonga, Nuku Ľalofa. When he was 5 in 1967, the family traveled to New Zealand at great personal expense to be sealed in the temple. This was for purposes of Ordinance (Latter Day Saints) in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Sikahema’s family stayed in New Zealand for three months until his father had earned enough money from shearing sheep to facilitate their return to Tonga.

Later Sikahema and his siblings were left with relatives in Tonga when his parents went to Brigham Young University-Hawaii (formerly Church College of Hawai’i). They made enough money to bring Sikahema to join them after a year of working at the Polynesian Cultural Center.

His family later settled in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix, in the U.S. state of Arizona. The parents were eventually able to bring Sikahema’s other siblings to join them when they got legal resident status. Vai Sikahema attended Mesa High School, where he played high school football.

Vai Sikahema Wife

Vai Sikahema has been married to Keala Heder since July 21, 1984. Together, the couple has four children.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *