DENVER -- The 2019 National PLAY Campaign made a stop at Coors Field on Saturday, as the Rockies and the Taylor Hooton Foundation promoted the importance of physical activity and avoiding performance-enhancing drugs to 150-160 area children, ages 7-16, and their parents. But it turned out to be educational for the Rockies.
PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth was created by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) to combat the rise of childhood obesity and inactivity. And Rockies left-handed pitcher Harrison Musgrave was shocked to learn that many of the children who attended Saturday’s event -- mostly athletic boys and girls involved in baseball and softball -- attended schools where physical education programs have gone by the wayside.
“We had PE class, so when they were talking about it, I was really surprised that’s a thing,” said Musgrave, a Bridgeport, W.Va., native. “It was good for us to run around and do the activities, be active. It surprises me that they don’t have PE everywhere. It’s a trip.”
Rockies head athletic trainer Keith Dugger pointed with pride to the fact the PBATS PLAY campaign, which opened in 2004, preceded and provided foundation information for the NFL Play 60 and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiatives. The fact that physical education was disappearing from schools was a driving force in forming the campaign.
The message for the children and their parents, who attended the event and received a tour of Coors Field, was even in a modern world of advanced technology and video games, there is room for actual movement. Dugger said the message was not hostile to the advances that end up in children’s hands and occupy time.
“It’s understanding that you have to be active, not be stagnant, and learn to balance life out,” Dugger said. “Even with all the advances, you can still do that. And you don’t have to do one specific sport. Get out and walk the dog, be with the parents promoting a healthy lifestyle. It’s a holistic approach.
“What we told them was our players play video games, too, but balance them out.”
Musgrave was joined by right-handed pitcher Jairo Diaz in representing the players. Dugger, assistant athletic trainer Scott Gehret and Brian Parker of the Taylor Hooton Foundation also participated in the event.
Players discussed the various activities of their youth, and the event offered advice on safe use of social media, plus diet, nutrition and rest during athletic events. Also, part of having the Taylor Hooton Foundation involved in the event was to send the message that players were among the driving forces behind the move for drug testing.
“Players want an even field,” Dugger said. “They don’t want people to cheat.”