EUCLID -- As part of the NFL Play 60 initiative, the Cleveland Browns visited the top school from their annual fall challenge, Forest Park Middle School, and participated in an assembly, as well as ultimate gym class on Tuesday afternoon.
Forest Park Middle School had 344 students sign up for the Browns’ Fall Play 60 Challenge and the 25 students from the top class logged 155,297 minutes of physical activity through the six-week program.
“It’s very important to hear the message from the players because they are on the field every Sunday for 60 minutes competing, giving it their all and the Browns encourage the kids to find something they love doing for 60 minutes and really excel at it for a healthy lifestyle,” said Jenner Tekancic, director of community relations for the Browns. “By being here, we’re showing the players are committed to the message of Play 60 and we hope the students will carry the message with them throughout the school year, into the summer and beyond.”
“Play 60’s an awesome initiative in the NFL and it’s just fun to see these kids out here playing, having fun, doing what they love and exercising,” Yount said. “Video games, it seems like they almost rule our lives. It’s so much more important to be outside playing and having fun with friends, playing football, basketball, whatever they like to do. It’s awesome to see these kids out here doing that.”
Exercise is important to Yount, no matter the time of year. During the offseason, Yount stays active back home in California and that, along with eating healthy and staying away from fast food, was a part of his message during the school assembly.
“When I’m home, I like hiking, camping, doing all that stuff, surfing, whatever it may be,” Yount said. “Even though I’m not playing football, I like to stay active, exercise and have fun with it.”
John Yuha, the fitness teacher at Forest Park Middle School, led the school’s Play 60 efforts by having them do push-ups, sit-ups and running in his class. He also said it helped that many of his students were involved in activities like football, basketball, baseball, cheerleading and bike riding.
The 344 students in Forest Park’s program logged 1,752,797 minutes (29,213 hours) of physical activity.
Forest Park student Brianna Roberts was the top participant in the Browns Play 60 Challenge. She logged over 25,000 minutes and had the chance to personally meet the players during the visit. Also, she was recognized during the Nov. 25 Browns game against the Pittsburgh Steelers for being one of the top eleven students who ran out of home team tunnel and stood with the team for National Anthem.
“I think it’s a very good example. It shows that you can do it,” Yuha said. “When we first started last year, they said they didn’t want to do it, that it would take up too much time. Now, seeing the rewards of having the Browns come out and have a play day, it motivates them to do more. I think it’s a great motivator for the rest of the school. It shows that they can do great things.”
Yuha said the students came into this Play 60 Challenge motivated to succeed after a top-three finish in the last challenge.
“I started off with just my classes, my fitness classes and this year, we got pretty much the whole school involved, all the sixth-grade class did it, a good bit of the seventh and eighth-grade class did it,” Yuha said. “They were motivated by having this day with the Browns. When they found out we won, they were just ecstatic. They were thrilled and it was a great job. They just kept going and it got better and better.”The Cleveland Browns Play 60 Challenge, is in partnership with American Heart Association, and in association with Medical Mutual, Cleveland Clinic and the American Dairy Association Mideast and Fuel Up to Play 60.