ATLANTA -- Catching coach Sal Fasano and bullpen coach Marty Reed were among the members of the Braves’ organization who welcomed nearly 100 kids to SunTrust Park Tuesday afternoon to participate in the National PLAY Campaign.
“I think there are a lot of good and bad ways these kids can be influenced,” Fasano said. “We wanted to influence them on the good side.”
The Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) has spent the past 15 years coordinating the PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign, which was formed to raise awareness about childhood health issues and disability inclusion in the United States. More than 350 events have been held in Major League ballparks to promote making healthy decisions and living a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Children from the National Down Syndrome Society were among the members of local Atlanta youth groups that took part in this event, which is supported by the Ruderman Family Foundation, Major League Baseball Charities, the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation.
The PLAY Campaign became the first program in professional sports to include children with disabilities. PBATS partnered with the Ruderman Family Foundation and National Down Syndrome Society in 2017 to enhance this effort.
Rain prevented the kids from partaking in hitting activities, but Fasano provided outfield instruction and Reed offered pitching advice. Braves assistant athletic trainer Mike Frostad conducted a relay race station. As the children ate lunch in the Chop House, they received information about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs.
“They got a few different messages today,” Fasano said. “You want to do anything you can to influence the youth of the area.”