Mariners Host PLAY Campaign Event
The main message of the day, Mariners Head Athletic Trainer Rick Griffin explained to a group of local kids, is to “get active, eat proper and take care of your bodies.” With that lesson, this year’s PLAY Campaign event at Safeco Field began on Tuesday, Aug. 6.
Since 2004, the PLAY Campaign—Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth—has been run by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in order to raise awareness about children’s health issues and the obesity epidemic in the United States. Working with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, MLB Charities, and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, the PLAY Campaign educates youth about the importance of living a healthy and active lifestyle, as well as important decision-making skills regarding performance enhancing drugs (PEDs).
At this year’s event, kids from the Seattle RBI League and the Rainier Vista, Redmond/Sammamish and Federal Way Boys & Girls Clubs were in attendance. The event was run by Mariners Athletic Trainers Griffin, Rob Nodine and Mattew Toth, and by Mariners players Nick Franklin, Charlie Furbush, Brad Miller and Michael Morse.
The afternoon event began with the athletic trainers and players addressing the kids and answering a few questions. Before the kids broke into smaller groups to visit different stations, Brian Parker from the Taylor Hooton Foundation spoke about the dangers of PEDs. Parker explained to the group what steroids were and how they affected both the bodies of boys and girls.
“On the outside it does work,” Parker said. “But you can’t see what happens in your body….Everything inside you is under attack.”
The kids then broke up into three groups to rotate stations manned by the Mariners players and athletic trainers. The stations touched on a variety of different topics such as warm-up exercises, strength and conditioning, and education about the dangers of steroid abuse. The Mariners athletic trainers designed the different activities at the stations and the kids were able to try many of the exercises that the players do during Spring Training and during their own pregame warm-up activities. For example, Franklin and Griffin led their groups in agility and footwork exercises, Morse and Nodine led warm-up exercises, and Furbush, Miller and Toth organized relay races.
“Before we play games we come here to the same spot and warm up,” Morse told his group before leading them in some drills by the foul line in right field. Furbush and Miller cheered on their group as the kids raced each other in the outfield, and Franklin demonstrated the different footwork exercises that the kids would be trying. But the small group activities also provided the kids with time to ask players questions as well.
Representatives from the Mariners corporate sponsor Subway were at Safeco for the event to provide lunch and branded baseballs for the kids in attendance. Before the kids got receive autographs from the Mariners players, they each signed a pledge that Subway provided, promising that they would live a healthy, active and drug-free lifestyle.
This year, the PLAY Campaign will travel to all 30 MLB stadiums and educate over 2000 young people.
Sam Radbil, the PLAY Campaign Coordinator, advised kids to, “Get outside every day and play with your friends and run around. Make sure to get 30 to 60 minutes of exercise a day.”
“The event with the Mariners is one of the best we have” he added.
- Caitlin Doxsie, Mariners PR Intern