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PLAY Campaign stops at Citizens Bank Park

Youth event features Wiffle ball, obstacle course and more
MLB.com

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' training staff on Tuesday afternoon hosted more than 60 local youth athletes and children with disabilities for the PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign's annual stop at Citizens Bank Park.

Despite sweltering heat, the children on hand rotated through four stations for a little more than an hour. Two of the stations, situated in the outfield grass, had the children play Wiffle ball and navigate an obstacle course run by the Phillies' strength and conditioning staff. The other two stations, located in the ballpark dugouts, taught kids the importance of nutrition and personal hygiene.

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies' training staff on Tuesday afternoon hosted more than 60 local youth athletes and children with disabilities for the PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) Campaign's annual stop at Citizens Bank Park.

Despite sweltering heat, the children on hand rotated through four stations for a little more than an hour. Two of the stations, situated in the outfield grass, had the children play Wiffle ball and navigate an obstacle course run by the Phillies' strength and conditioning staff. The other two stations, located in the ballpark dugouts, taught kids the importance of nutrition and personal hygiene.

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"I don't know if you can deliver that message enough times for this age group," said Phillies assistant athletic trainer Shawn Fcasni. "It's important to hear about some of these topics."

The Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) created the PLAY campaign in 2004 to raise awareness of children's health issues and obesity in the United States. This marked the second year in which PBATS has worked with the Ruderman Family Foundation -- which advocates for the full inclusion of people with disabilities -- and the National Down Syndrome Society to enhance the PLAY Campaign.

Other organizations that have supported more than 300 PLAY Campaign events at all 30 MLB ballparks include Major League Baseball Charities, the Taylor Hooton Foundation -- an organization focused on educating youth about the dangers of anabolic steroids and other appearance and performance-enhancing substances -- and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation, which works to foster, support and promote dental, medical and animal health by helping to increase access to care in communities around the world.

"It's important to emphasize the need to get up and move a little bit," Fcasni said. "You combine that with some of the nutrition principles that they learned about during the talks -- there are ways to give yourself a healthy lifestyle for the long haul."

Fcasni is in his 16th year with the Phillies' organization, and this was his seventh time assisting the PLAY campaign. Every year, he said, there's always something about the group of kids participating that makes it a special experience.

"It's always different," Fcasni said. "It's always fun. The kids all enjoy it. They're always smiling and having a good time, getting a chance to run around on the field where all their favorite players are playing every night."

Joe Bloss is a reporter for MLB.com.

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