D-backs stress importance of healthy lifestyle

PHOENIX -- In past years when the National PLAY Campaign has made its stop in Phoenix, a group of 100 kids have taken over Chase Field as the mid-afternoon sun beams down.

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The 115-degree weather made it more suitable for the roof to be closed this year, but that didn't stop the group from the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Phoenix from learning about maintaining a healthy lifestyle on Wednesday afternoon.

"We talk about nutrition, hydration, just general body care," D-backs head athletic trainer Ken Crenshaw said. "And then obviously staying active, trying to get them to understand that we've got to be active as a community and we've got to be active, just moving around and getting the blood flowing."

Crenshaw helped run the event along with D-backs assistant athletic trainer Ryan DiPanfilo, Jeff Klinger of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation and Don Hooten of the Taylor Hooten Foundation.

The Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth campaign was formed by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society in 2004. They have since conducted more than 150 events in all 30 Major League ballparks.

There were four stations on the field at Chase Field, designed to help kids learn the importance of a healthy lifestyle, including facts about nutrition, exercise and more. At two of the stations, they had the opportunity to compete in an active game.

Crenshaw supervised a game that involved a mini diamond set up with cones and a giant cube that had numbers on it. Whichever number the kids rolled, that's how many "bases" they had to run.

"It's great, it's one of the more unique things, I think, for kids to get a chance to come out to a Major League field and learn some life lessons for helping themselves stay healthy for a lifetime," Crenshaw said. "Hopefully they spread it to other kids and family and brothers and sisters."

After going through all four stations and listening to Hooten talk about the harmful effects of performance-enhancing drugs, the day ended with the kids getting a visit from D-backs pitcher Josh Collmenter.

Collmenter reinforced the concepts of a healthy lifestyle that the kids learned throughout the day before participating in a question-and-answer session.

Collmenter has participated in the event in the past, including last year's at Chase Field, and said he enjoys creating a positive atmosphere for the kids to learn about healthy habits.

"Just to give them some positive advice and back that with some things that you've done on your own," Collmenter said, "and maybe something hits home for them and they take it a little more seriously."

Jake Rill is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.