Brownstown students get visit from Colts to stay active



A former Indianapolis Colts defensive back recently led Brownstown Central Middle School sixth-graders through a variety of stretches, strength training and cardio exercises.

Mike Prior and other representatives from the Colts’ Play 60 team came to the Jackson County school to give students a lesson in nutrition and plenty of activity.

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The initiative organized by the NFL focuses on encouraging students to be active for 60 minutes each day to combat childhood obesity.

After the program, students gathered in a circle on the gym floor and were quizzed on what they learned. Students answered correctly were awarded Colts prizes, including DVDs, T-shirts and more. Each student received an official 2017 Indianapolis Colts yearbook, a pennant and a Play 60 towel.

Prior, who now serves as a youth football commissioner with the organization, had a 13-year playing career in the NFL. He was with the Colts from 1987 to 1992. He also played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Green Bay Packers.

He said the Play 60 program is fun to bring to communities where he can share important information about a daily regimen of exercise and proper nutrition.

“It’s fun to get out here and teach kids a little bit,” he said during a break. “You don’t have to be an athlete to work out and be active or to eat right and stay healthy.”

Prior said developing the habits at a young age helps lead to a healthier lifestyle as they grow older.

“Start the habits now and they will stay with you,” he said. “It’s great to see the kids work hard, try and give a lot of effort.”

Marty Young, physical education teacher at the school, said those habits will help his students later in life.

“It is very important for students to learn about staying physically active and having good nutrition because it can help them lead a healthier lifestyle through making changes in their activities and eating habits,” he said.

Prior said visiting areas away from the team’s base also is a unique and gratifying experience.

“It’s fun to go out and get a little farther away from Indianapolis and give back to some of these Colts fans down here,” he said. “I was in the hallway before we started, and a little boy gave me a thumbs-up and told me the Colts rock, and it’s so much fun to see that.”

That passion isn’t something Prior said he saw when he began putting on the camps 14 years ago for the Colts.

“I would go to northern or southern Indiana, and not too many people knew about the Colts,” he said.

He said one player changed everything and made Indiana a football state.

“The Peyton Manning era came, and the whole state believed,” he said.

The Colts erected a statue of Manning outside Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in October.

The Play 60 team will complete 15 to 20 events through March. Schools can request the free program to visit their school. Brownstown was selected, and Prior said he enjoyed the school.

Young said he thought the program went well and his students got the message.

“The kids enjoyed the exercises and learning about how to stay physically active,” he said. “I feel that having the Colts come in to work with these students helps motivate them by wanting to stay physically active.”

By having the Colts representatives visit, Young said he thinks the message will stick more because the students look up to them.

“I feel the Colts fitness camp is very effective because students can hear about the importance of physical activity and good nutrition from people they look up to,” he said.

“Having the Colts come seems like it gives students more of an incentive to work hard and stay healthy,” he said. “The camp can help reinforce the ideas that are taught in PE class in a way that is fun for students and involving the professional football team the Indianapolis Colts.”

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