Throughout the season, the Bills have paired up with Independent Health Foundation and the Buffalo Niagara Heart Association to host several Play 60 events. To wrap up a great year of participation in the Play 60 Challenge and Fitness for Kids Challenge, the Bills invited over 300 kids from 12 different schools throughout Western New York to the ADPRO Sports Training Center for a morning filled with physical activity. Children in grades second through fifth participated in drills led several Bills players including Eddie Yarbrough, Preston Brown, Marquavius Lewis, Logan Thomas, Vladimir Ducasse, Deonte Thompson, Dion Dawkins, Keith Towbridge, Mike Tolbert, Conor McDermott, Eric Wood, Jason Croom, Colton Schmidt, Jordan Poyer, Micah Hyde, Jordan Mills, Lorenzo Alexander and Zay Jones.
The event was a huge success for both the players and all the children who participated.
“It’s huge,” stated Independent Health Project Coordinator, Anna Jaremko. “For these kids, these are their idols. I’ve watched them come here and they get excited and look up to all these players…. I think it shows them they can really amount to anything. You have all these different players who do this amazing thing in life and they are all physically active. It teaches the kids they can look up to that and really aim for that in their lives too.”
The children rotated excitedly through several different drills including a parachute station, catching and passing drills.
“I always do the parachute, I called dibs on it last year,” stated punter Colton Schmidt. “It’s really easy for us to show up and have a good time with them.”
Almost as excited as the kids participating, Bills players were all smiles as they cheered and instructed each group.
“Any time we can get around kids and in the community and use the platform we’ve been given to lift some spirits and positively impact people, it’s a big deal,” stated center Eric Wood.
“If you look around everyone’s smiling and look like they are having a great time,” stated wide receiver Zay Jones. “It’s almost like recess time at school that they can enjoy and we can enjoy.”
Though the overall message of the day was encouraging the children to lead active lifestyles by showing them fun ways to get their heart racing, many players felt equally impacted by the opportunity to spend time with young fans.
“They love it,” stated safety Micah Hyde. “It kind of puts your job into perspective every time you are around some kids. They still see you as a super hero and it’s crazy… Sometimes your job is overwhelming, you get stressed out, but when you come here with a bunch of kids smiling and having fun, it’s stress free and it humbles you.”