On Saturday May 5, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs hosted the PLAY Campaign. Based out of Ellicott City, MD, the PLAY Campaign is a campaign put forth by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) to education children and adolescent athletes of the dangers of living a sedentary lifestyle, as well as the dangers of using performance enhancing drugs. The PLAY Campaign promotes healthy eating and increasing activity within their programs, as well as educating youth about steroids. Yesterday's event was particularly special for the IronPigs as it kicked off a year's worth of events and programs that will be featured in each of the 30 Major League ballparks and to select Minor League ballparks. Coca Cola Park was the first stadium to host the campaign for 2012 and was the first ever Minor League stadium to participate.
Many of the IronPigs' players and coaches participated in the event, including top relief prospect Phillippe Aumont. "We're doing this for the kids," Aumont said. "I'm at the pitching station, my specialty, to teach them about pitching but we're also here to teach them about healthy eating, staying active, and the consequences of steroids." Aumont was joined at his station by teammate Kevin Frandsen and Pigs pitching coach Rod Nichols. Among the other IronPigs involved with the event were BJ Rosenberg and Pat Misch who were talking to youths about the importance of school and homework, pitcher Tom Cochran and Pigs strength and conditioning coach Jason Meredith who led youngsters in calisthenics, stretching, and throwing, as well as Dave Bush, Jake Diekman, John Suomi, and Rich Thompson who participated in activities that varied from hitting off a tee to tours of the clubhouse.
IronPigs head athletic trainer Chris Mudd was on hand, roving station to station, and was very encouraged by the event that invited children from the Allentown, Bethlehem, and Easton Boys and Girls Clubs. "It's great that the (PLAY)
Campaign is able to reach so many children in places that may not have been able to receive this education (from professional athletes). I'm excited that the (PLAY) Campaign is expanding to the Minor League stadiums and we hope to reach even more children that way, educating them about the dangers of steroid use and the positive effects of exercise and a healthy diet." Sam Radbil, the PLAY Campaign's event coordinator, was also excited about the program's expansion: "We're really happy to be here in the Lehigh Valley, working with the IronPigs, to help provide education about living a healthy life by eating right, exercising, and avoiding steroids.
About the PLAY Campaign:
PLAY, or Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, is a PBATS campaign, which is associated with the Taylor Hooton Foundation and MLB Charities. Started in 2004, PLAY has visited every Major League ballpark and educated thousands of kids about the dangers associated with living a sedentary lifestyle, as well as the dangers associated with performance enhancing drugs (PEDs). PLAY focuses on increasing activity and healthy eating within the youth of America, while simultaneously making well informed decisions about steroids.