With up-tempo music in the background and volunteer coaches cheering, children at Tobacco Road Elementary School went to each station throwing footballs and diving onto pads to score their own touchdown.
Staff from the Atlanta Falcons visited the school Thursday as part of the Falcons Gatorade Junior Training Camp, allowing children in fourth and fifth grades the opportunity to be active and see a former Falcons player during the school day.
Former linebacker Buddy Curry was part of the staff that instructed children on the obstacle course. Curry played for the Falcons from 1980-87 after getting drafted out of North Carolina. He was a starter in Atlanta for all but one of his eight seasons.
“I love partnering with the Falcons because of what they stand for,” he said. “They stand for more than winning and losing. They stand for community service, giving back to the community and inspiring people to be the best they can be.”
Falcons staff members travel to schools across Georgia promoting an active and healthy lifestyle as part of the camp.
“We give the kids an opportunity to run around and be active, and learn a little bit about the game of football,” said Chris Millman, the Falcons community relations and youth program manager. “Georgia has one of the highest youth obesity rates in the country, so we’re trying to do everything we can to get children active and get our next generation of fans healthy and fit so they can be the next great football players.”
Also part of the program was a youth football information session at Grovetown High School on Thursday night. Led by Curry, the program’s purpose is to introduce health and safety fundamentals to parents and youth football coaches. Two keys to the session are concussion awareness and proper fitting for helmets and shoulder pads.
“We’ve got to change the culture of the game, and we have to teach youth coaches the fundamentals and have a little more structure of the things they do,” Curry said. “At the same time, change the culture of how to make contact to make the game safer and better.”