Athletes give back to NYC Community

play60The NFL Play 60 campaign, USA Football, and Under Armour have all paired up to help get the youth located in the New York/New Jersey area active. But what is it that makes these community-involved events so popular?

What better way to get children active than by allowing them to learn football skills from current and former NFL players? Four NFL players and dozens of volunteers from USA Football and Under Armour were on-hand to hang out with the kids for the day teaching football skills as well how to be hydrated and play the game of football safely.

NFL players in attendance include: Former Arizona Cardinals great Larry Centers, Former Seattle Seahawk Isiah Kacyvenski, former Packers and current free-agent running back Ryan Grant, and current Ravens safety James Ihedigbo.

Fortunately volunteers and athletes were made available to describe their thoughts on giving back to the community.

James Ihedigbo of the “World Champion” Ravens told us his thoughts on being able to give back to the New York community.

“It’s awesome to give back. I spent some time living in this city, and the importance of instilling football knowledge as a player in the NFL to these young kids is excellent to them in terms of staying active and eating right. This advice will help them all the way into adulthood, and then they can pass that down to their children.”

When he’s not spending time with his family, cooking, or keeping up with the latest fashion, Ihedigbo is giving back in a number of ways and spoke about his involvement in the Baltimore community in the off-season.

play60aWe do it all the time in the Ravens community in Baltimore. We work with all ages up to high school in the Baltimore area. Personally, I hosted a 7 on 7 camp in my hometown last weekend where highs school kids from all over the state could come out and stay active. Event like [the NFL Play 60 event] are great because you can teach good qualities to kids of all ages.”

Ryan Grant is still looking for an NFL team for the upcoming 2013 season. Despite being unemployed in the league, he has not lost his good spirits and was running around chasing children on the NFL Play 60 field setup in downtown New York.

“It definitely hits home for me because I’m a native New York local. Being born here, I know that this is where the dream all starts for these kids. All of us at some point and time were out here running around and that fact that we were is probably one of the reasons that we were able to get the level we were at now. To be active, to be healthy, with everything going on is so important—outside all of the health benefits, it is so important. It is so inspiring to see kids smiling and jumping around, it puts thing in perspective and it makes life easier. ”

Grant returns to the New York area when the season is over. When Grant does have downtime, he enjoys relaxing with a good book and playing chess. An active guy himself, Grant strives to get out and volunteer and inspire kids to lead an active lifestyle like he does.

“The more I can get outside and be outside helping the kids, the better.”

No event is complete without volunteers, and the NFL Play 60 has no shortage of motivated volunteers spending time mentoring young kids. USA Football volunteer Ed Pasino offered up his perspective of volunteering for such a great cause.

“I think it’s aplay60b great program and I support the message being promoted. Being a part of USA Football, I volunteer at these events—teaching kids to tackle safely and not leading with the head [in conjunction with their “Heads Up Football” program]. The game of football gave me a lot and I enjoy being able to give that back to the kids out here.”

In October 2007, the NFL launched NFL Play 60, a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increasing the wellness of young fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. The mission of the NFL Play 60 is to make the next generation of youth the most active and healthy by encouraging 60 minutes of play a day. To date, the NFL has dedicated over $200 million to youth health and wellness through NFL Play 60 programs like the ones hosted in New York.




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