On last week’s road trip, the PLAY campaign – along with partners from the Taylor Hooton Foundationand the Henry Schein Cares Foundation – conducted events in Phoenix with the Arizona Diamondbacks on June 17th and the following day at Kauffman Field in Kansas City with the Royals.
On the first stop at Chase Field, Diamondbacks head athletic trainer, Ken Crenshaw, was joined on the field by assistant athletic trainer Ryan DiPanfilo and strength and conditioning coach Nate Shaw. Together the group taught kids from the greater Phoenix area Boys & Girls Clubs about the importance of exercise and healthy lifestyle habits. The youngsters also received lessons on athletic footwork, conditioning drills and running form.
While the on-field activities are always a highlight, Don Hooton joined the Diamondbacks athletic training staff on behalf of the Taylor Hooton Foundation and educated the local youth about the dangers associated with performance enhancing drug abuse. Along with Hooton, Jeff Klingler and Justin Matlage from the Henry Schein Cares Foundation spoke to the kids about overall health and oral hygiene at their station called “Home-run for Health.”
Although the kids enjoyed participating in on-field drills and learning from the speakers, the most exciting part of their day was an appearance from Diamondbacks relief pitcher Josh Collmenter. Collmenter – a three-time participant in the PLAY campaign – spoke to the kids about his rise to the Major Leagues. He touched on his daily habits and the importance of preparation and academics.
After leaving Chase Field, PLAY campaign representatives made their way to Kansas City for a day at Kauffman Field with hosts Nick Kenney, head athletic trainer of the Royals, and his talented athletic training and strength and conditioning staff.
On behalf of the Royals, MLB All-Star Alex Gordon made an appearance and helped to educate the local youngsters about nutrition, hydration and also the importance of hard work and determination in the face of adversity.
Along with Gordon and the Royal’s staff, Mike Spehr spoke on behalf of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, while Donald Hooton Jr. discussed the harmful effects of performance enhancing abuse in representation of the Taylor Hooton Foundation.
After another week of events, the PLAY campaign will continue its summer tour next week with stops in Miami and Tampa Bay. Both the Marlins and Rays athletic training staffs will host local area youth groups and continue to educate on important topics, while sharing tips and tricks from the athletic training room.
ABOUT PLAY: PLAY is a national public awareness campaign of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in conjunction with MLB Charities, the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. The PLAY campaign, which will host events in all 30 Major-League ballparks in 2015, educates America’s young people about the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle. PLAY events run approximately two hours in length with participants divided into groups and rotated through a series of stations. These stations touch on everything from healthy eating, injury prevention, strength and conditioning and education about the dangers of illegal performance and appearance-enhancing drugs.