Throughout the year, many local schools embraced the message of PLAY 60 and provided resources so their students could be active for at least 60 minutes every day and lead healthy lifestyles. The St. Louis Rams assisted those efforts, visiting various schools for an array of PLAY 60-related programs, activities and assemblies. On Friday, it was the schools who visited the Rams to take part in the inaugural PLAY 60 Field Day at Rams Park.
While the Rams planned to host the event outside, the windy, wet weather forced the team to call an audible and move indoors. But nothing could dampen the spirit of more than 450 students from 10 area elementary and middle schools. Upon stepping inside the Rams indoor training facility, the kids were treated to a wonderland of activity stations, highlighted by a Rams inflatable obstacle course and a Rams bounce house. All the stations served to further spread the message of being active and healthy.
“Encouraging kids to be active at least 60 minutes every day utilizing the Play 60 platform is one of the central focuses of the St. Louis Rams’ off-the field efforts,” said Rams vice president, civic affairs and corporate communication, Molly Higgins. “The Field Day was a great opportunity to reinforce the message that being healthy can be fun as well as reward local students who have made a daily commitment to live active and healthy lives.
In addition to the inflatable attractions, the PLAY 60 Field Day featured football drills such as step ladders and tackling dummies, and NFL Scouting Combine staples like the broad jump, long jump and vertical jump, as well as the 40-yard dash and shuttle run. At other stations, kids kicked field goals, took handoffs to the house and laid out for a touchdown grab, landing safely on a crash mat in the endzone. Teaching students tricks of the trades were nine Rams players, including defensive end
“It was great to see the number of students who were able to come out and participate,” said Rachelle Bartnick, American Heart Association senior community health director. “And the level of involvement from the St. Louis Rams players added to the true joy and excitement that everyone had around PLAY 60.”
The fun and excitement of the field day served as a culminating celebration for the schools’ PLAY 60 efforts. Each of the 10 participating schools –Dewey International Elementary, Jerseyville West Elementary, Thomas Elementary, Westview Elementary, Belle Valley Middle, Brittany Woods Middle School, Ladue Middle School, Parkway Central Middle School, Rockwood South Middle School and Valley Park Middle, – took part in one of the Rams’ two school-based PLAY 60 programs during the school year.
“It’s great to see kids working and playing together and having a great time,” Midwest Dairy Council health and wellness program manager Courtney Corbett said. “After everything these schools and their students had done over the year, it was great to reward them for all their hard work.”
The first program was the Rams PLAY 60 Challenge. Created in partnership with the American Heart Association, the program challenges schools to track the fitness minutes of their students in and out of school over a six-week period. Through the PLAY 60 Challenge, schools can encourage physically active lifestyles year-round.
“Having the Rams as a partner in preventing childhood obesity in our community is priceless,” Bartnick said. “The relationship we’ve developed over the past year has helped us enhance the NFL PLAY 60 Challenge program”
Bartnick said she is looking forward to more schools getting involved with the PLAY 60 Challenge.
“I hope schools are able to see how easy and rewarding it is to provide this opportunity to their students,” Bartnick said. “Going forward, I hope we grow the PLAY 60 Field Day experience to include more schools, more students and more community members, in addition to getting the message out about the importance of children leading healthy and active lives.”
Through the second program, Fuel Up to PLAY 60, kids take control of their own health by tracking their healthy eating habits and taking part in fun challenges. The Rams and Midwest Dairy Council partnered on the program as a commitment to the health of the next generation.
“The ultimate goal of getting kids active and eating right is a common goal of both Fuel Up to PLAY 60 and the PLAY 60 Challenge,” Corbett said. “I’d love to see more schools doing both programs together because they work simultaneously.”
The Rams continue to work with schools and other organizations to spread the message of PLAY 60 and combat childhood obesity. If you are interested in learning more about the PLAY 60 programs, visit their website at www.stlouisrams.com/PLAY60.