To celebrate the NFL's Play 60 initiative, the NFL's national youth health and wellness campaign with the American Heart Association that encourages kids of all ages to enjoy active play for 60 minutes every day, the Giants recognized two American Heart Child survivors and Play 60 ambassadors. The first survivor was Chase Stengel, from Rocky Point, NY who was born with several serious heart issues that required surgery at just two years old. Today, he is an active third grader who loves to play sports and ride his bike. Chase's brother Casey became the top fundraiser at his school for the American Heart Association's Kids Heart Challenge, and partners with his family to raise awareness about heart disease. The second survivor was Benjamin Guttmann from New Rochelle, NY. Benjamin has a heart condition that requires him to have a pacemaker, but it doesn't stop him from being a normal and active little boy. Benjamin is in the 4th grade and is also the top fundraiser for the Kids Heart Challenge at his elementary school. The two survivors were recognized with a video board moment during the game for their efforts to fund research for others who face heart health issues.
The Giants also hosted five local quarterbacks, kickers and punters to participate in a skills competition during halftime to celebrate the Play 60 initiative and highlight some of the most talented high school football players in the area. Lastly, the Giants honored students and staff from the Schenectady School District for their dedication to the Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative, in partnership with the American Dairy Association North East. The group was presented with a $5,000 donation to purchase insulated bags to deliver breakfast to classrooms at schools throughout the district. The Giants and American Dairy Association North East also partnered to award a $5,000 donation to the Albany School District to purchase additional resources to support breakfast in the schools.
Despite safety protocols, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Giants continued with the American Heart Association to bring virtual Play 60 assemblies to schools throughout the region with the support of Quest Diagnostics and Quest for Health Equity. Over the course of this season, Quest Diagnostics donated three separate $1,500 fitness grants to schools as they work to encourage students to be active and live a healthy lifestyle. Safety Jabrill Peppers kicked-off our virtual Play60 conversations in his hometown of East Orange, New Jersey where he hosted students throughout the district and ended the event with the news that they would be receiving the first of Quest Diagnostics three grants. Over the next few weeks, linebacker Lorenzo Carter and running back Sandro Platzgummer, a member of the NFL International Player Pathway Program, continued these important conversations, with students across the Tri-State area, to emphasize the importance of staying active and creating healthy habits. The remaining schools to receive the generous donation from Quest Diagnostics and Quest for Health Equity were Imagine Me Leadership Charter School in Brooklyn, NY and Grey Charter School in Newark, New Jersey.
In an effort to reach students nationwide, safety Julian Love created an exercise video for the NFL Play 60 exercise Library. With the help of the American Heart Association, Love encouraged students to get their hearts and muscle pumping while reaching their goal of being active for sixty minutes a day. He shared his favorite agility exercise for students to learn so they could add it to their own fitness library.
The Giants also teamed up with The Cooper Institute to make FitnessGram a free resource for the Paterson, Belleville and East Orange public school districts. This program works directly with schools to accurately measure and track the overall fitness levels of students throughout the school year. Over the 2020-2021 school year, approximately 241,000 youth across 377 schools participated in the NFL Play60 FitnessGram Project impacting a total of 73,221 students across the country. As a kick-off for FitnessGram in East Orange, linebacker Carter Coughlin joined several teachers to speak to students and their parents about the importance of active play and healthy habits during a virtual event on Tuesday, October 26th.
The Giants look forward to continuing their partnership with the American Heart Association to provide students and schools with the resources to be the healthiest they can be. As we move into the Spring, the Giants are eager to get back into local schools to continue encouraging young people to enjoy 60 minutes of active play every day, and all of the benefits that it provides!