WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – Prying kids away from TV screens wasn’t a battle for hundreds of families Thursday afternoon at Purdue.
Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts quarterback, and the experts at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health hit the road to give nearly 400 Hoosier kids a taste of Change the Play—the popular health, fitness and nutrition program they developed together.
Kids who snagged a spot for the free, two-hour Change the Play camp got to mingle with Luck himself—one of the state’s leading role models—and pick up tips on how to be quarterbacks of their own health. They rotated through a series of action-packed fitness and nutrition stations alongside Luck, Purdue student athletes and Riley Physicians and dietitians. The stations are inspired by lessons taught in each of the eight weekly challenges that comprise Change the Play—how to stretch properly, fuel up in the morning and manage stress in positive ways, for example.
“I’m excited to visit West Lafayette to introduce even more kids to our Change the Play program,” said Luck. “Health is a precious commodity. I feel it’s my responsibility as a professional athlete to help kids learn how to defend their health—to make smart choices about what they put on their forks and do in their free time. Through Change the Play, I’m working with the state’s leading children’s hospital to help arm kids against some of the negative health trends gripping our communities.”
Alongside Luck at the camp were members of the Purdue football and volleyball teams, including quarterbacks Danny Etling and David Blough.
“When you get that chance to kind of just play with kids and to just play football again for fun. it’s always fun, but it’s that kids looking up to you. That’s definitely the best part of it all and football is always fun,” said Etling.
“We’re normal kids too, we’re 18 and 19 years old. And just going to school and playing football, it’s kind of weird to think that kids are looking up to us as heros. But, it’s definitely a blessing and we have to use it to impact their lives,” said Blough.
Indiana is the 8th most obese state, a trend from which children are not immune. In addition, a growing number of kids here at home and nationwide are developing lifestyle-related chronic diseases that used to primarily only affect adults.