Miami Dolphins punter Brandon Fields punts during the NFL's Play-60 program at Stranahan Elementary School.
Miami Dolphins punter and Sylvania native Brandon Fields took over Stranahan Elementary School’s fifth grade class gym period, leading the students in an hour of fun physical activity as part of the NFL’s Play 60 initiative.
Children jumped, hopped like a frog, and even did the plank with the National Football League punter on Friday.
Mr. Fields was joined by his wife Katie and retired offensive lineman, Chris Morris, who played for the Oakland Raiders. The three introduced the NFL’s health initiative Play 60 School Program that advocates physical fitness among students.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click here to view more photos of the event
“Kids look up to us, whether they (NFL players) like it or not, they see us on TV,” said Mr. Fields, who is the son-in-law of Oregon Police Chief Mike Navarre. The punter talked about giving back to the community, by encouraging children to participate in a healthy lifestyle and to dedicate at least an hour a day to some type of physical fitness.
Fifth grader Taryn Wachowiak exercises during the Play-60 program at Stranahan.
The three adults led the students in an hour of physical activity that began with warm-up stretches and ended with the students catching a pass from the NFL players.
Mrs. Fields, a chiropractor, told the class which was wearing Play 60 jerseys that many types of activities count as working out.
Yard work, chores, and yes, “cleaning your room,” is an exercise, she told the children.
Mr. Fields and Mr. Morris also challenged the children to an obstacle course with ropes, cones, and mini-hurdles.
Mr. Morris, a Temperance, Mich. resident, said children can motivate themselves to workout during the long Ohio winters by thinking of the long-term aspects of physical fitness. However, to realize the full benefits of a healthy lifestyle they need parental involvement.
“It’s probably difficult for the kids to think about (the long-term benefits)," he said. "That’s why it’s important to have family involvement. Physical fitness starts when you are young. If you start physical activity when you are young, it will stay with you.”
The adults encouraged the students to talk to their parents about what the learned from the 60-minute play.
For 10-year-old Kevin McDonald having the football players there was an inspiration.
He said he enjoyed exercising and was gearing up for the start of football season.
After catching a pass from Mr. Morris Brad Tober, 11, was ecstatic.
"He’s an inspiration for kids,” he said, standing among a group of children who echoed his excitement.
Mr. Fields said the initiative will continue after his visit.
“We have a day-to-day planner for them that will be given to the teachers and a classroom competition as well,” he said.
He ended his visit at the Sylvania school's field, where he once practiced football as a youngster.
Children stood on the sidelines gasping and shouting “whoa” as they watched him kick ski-high punts clear through the field.
Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.
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