PHOENIX -- For D-backs outfielder Steven Souza Jr., the time he spent working with a group of kids as part of the National PLAY campaign, which promotes the importance of children living a healthy lifestyle and disability inclusion, was an experience he won't forget.The program was created in 2004 by
PHOENIX -- For D-backs outfielder Steven Souza Jr., the time he spent working with a group of kids as part of the National PLAY campaign, which promotes the importance of children living a healthy lifestyle and disability inclusion, was an experience he won't forget.
The program was created in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society to raise awareness about children's health issues and the obesity epidemic in the United States.
Children from the National Down Syndrome Society took part in the PLAY event Wednesday with the support of the Ruderman Family Foundation, which advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities in society.
The D-backs' training staff, including head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw, assistant athletic trainer Ryan DiPanfilo and strength and conditioning coach Nate Shaw, also participated in Wednesday's event.
"I went around and asked them where they were from and it was amazing how many different countries were represented," Souza said. "It was so cool to be able to be around them. They were so excited that it made my day."
Shaw put the kids through some agility drills and showed them different exercises.
"It was a pretty cool thing," Shaw said. "These kids were really into it. They just loved being out on the grass running around. To see the big smiles on their faces made it worthwhile for me. It was special."
PLAY, which stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, has conducted more than 300 events inside all 30 Major League ballparks reaching tens of thousands of America's young people with their message.
"I just talked to them about making some healthy choices in life and making sure they got away from the video games and got outside when they could," Souza said. "Seeing them today was energizing and reminded me why I love what I get to do every day."
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.