On a sun washed Wednesday morning at the Chelsea Waterside Park, NFL Play 60 held its annual draft day event. NFL Play 60 allows kids to participate in football drills with some of their favorite players from the league, while learning the importance of health and safety.

Playing alongside future NFL stars Ziggy Ansah, Tavon Austin, Jonathan Cooper, Sharrif Floyd, and many others who will be looking to hear their names called early tomorrow on day one of the NFL Draft, the young boys and girls got the opportunity to learn how to pass, catch, run and tackle all while learning the importance of playing the game safely.

Before breaking off into their respective groups, the kids were talked to about the importance of hydration. Representation from the Korey Stringer Institute spoke with the anxious bunch on the importance of staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water. It was because of this very scenario that former Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle tragically passed away after suffering a heat stroke in training camp in preparation for the 2001 season.

The kids also heard about the importance of playing safely and how to be aware of concussions. When asked for a raise of hands of who had had ever suffered a concussion, a few young players raised their hands. When asked how many of them know someone who’d ever suffered a concussion, a sea of tiny hands rose to the sky. They were surprised that even something as simple as “getting your bell rung” constituted as a concussion and that younger people were more likely to be affected by a concussion because it took longer to recover from such an injury while the brain is still maturing and developing.

Then it was game time as future stars Dion Jordan, Chance Warmack, Geno Smith, Kenny Vaccaro, and the rest of the highly touted prospects broke into different teams to coach their group of kids in a specific drills similar to those at the NFL Combine.

Each team of prospects had their own mini field and a group of kids. After the session was up, the groups rotated and another group of kids got to play with their heroes in a once in a lifetime experience.

Running the tackling drills were Oregon’s Dion Jordan and West Virginia’s Geno Smith, who reflected the same wide smiles that showed on the children’s faces.

In a lightning fast two minutes to conclude each session, the group of kids split into groups. Half on offense, half on defense with the only goal of scoring as many touchdowns as possible. It was a morning of endless possibilities and memorable moments.

Before the kids went onto working with the next pair of future NFL stars, all four groups huddled in the middle of their respective mini-field and in unison on one, two, three: PLAY 60!

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