Panthers players talk physical activity, concussions at Fort Bra - WNCN: News, Weather

Panthers players talk physical activity, concussions at Fort Bragg

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Panthers players and Fort Bragg service members hosted the Play 60 Camp at the Parade Field to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity. (Brandon Herring, WNCN) Panthers players and Fort Bragg service members hosted the Play 60 Camp at the Parade Field to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity. (Brandon Herring, WNCN)
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -

Players with the Carolina Panthers were on Fort Bragg Tuesday to have fun with school children and also have a serious discussion with soldiers.

The players hosted a "Play 60" football camp for the children. The program is the NFL's "movement for an active generation."

More than 200 fifth graders from on-post elementary schools participated. After the players talked about the importance of eating more fruits and vegetable and playing fewer video games, they took the children through a series of football drills on the Fort Bragg Parade Field.

After the camp, two Panthers players were speakers during a forum on concussions. The panel of speakers also included two soldiers. All of them said they had suffered a concussion at some point.

The "culture of change" forum covered several topics including the growing knowledge about the signs and symptoms of a concussion. Panthers Center Ryan Kalil said he believes the culture in the NFL is changing as more players, coaches and other staff members understand concussions.

"[We're] changing the culture and we're recognizing that and we're sort of policing ourselves and each other to make sure we're all doing the right things to make sure we take care of it and treat it," Kalil said. "The culture was for the longest time, especially when I was growing up, was you got your bell rung. So we've come a long ways in understanding what it is what's actually happening.

The discussion also including information on why people affected by concussions need to take a break from activity. They said science is showing that people do not function at 100 percent when they are recovering from a concussion.

"Your inability to perform, whether it lasts a week or an hour, your inability to perform during that time puts other people at risk," explained Capt. Erin Long. "Having leaders and having teammates that understand, hey this person needs to be put out for a little bit, is going to help keep everybody safer on the battlefield."

The same concept applies for players on the football field she said.

According to a press release from the Carolina Panthers, "To promote positive culture change, the NFL and US Army signed a Memorandum of Understanding in which the NFL and Army pledged to work together to share information, provide education, and engage in discussion on concussion and other health-related issues that affect both organizations."

Brandon Herring

Brandon is a North Carolina native and UNC alum who lives in Fayetteville, and covers Cumberland County and the Sandhills. Returning to North Carolina to work as a journalist is a dream come true for Brandon. More>>

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