Titans Fuel Up to Play 60 at Rucker Stewart Middle School

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GALLATIN, Tenn. — Titans kicker Ryan Succop and linebacker Avery Williamson joined the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association (SUDIA) visiting students at Rucker-Steward Middle School in Sumner county to help celebrate the school winning the spring Titans/Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60) spring training draft #FuelGreatness through the partner's commitment to youth health and wellness.

Representatives from the partner organizations presented officials from Sumner County Schools with $21,465.00 in FUTP60 Equipment Grant funds to kick off a Grab N' Go breakfast and smoothie programs in 14 middle schools and 8 high schools to improve access to healthy eating and physical activity.

FUTP60, the nation's largest in-school wellness program, which is a partnership between the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council (NDC), in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. FUTP60 empowers students to live active and healthy lifestyles by playing or exercising for at least 60 minutes each day and fueling up with healthy foods such as low-fat and fat-free dairy.

"With Fuel Up to Play 60, we're encouraging exercise, eating healthy, getting plenty of nutrition and getting good dairy nutrition," said Succop.  "I know for me, it's a big part of my life trying to stay fit, staying active and staying healthy.  I think it's so important for our kids growing up to live that healthy, active lifestyle and that's what we are here doing today is encouraging those kids to do that."

 "Rucker Stewart has taken this program to another level," said Joan Benton, Manager of School Health & Wellness with Southeast United Dairy Industry Association.  "They won the right for some Titans players to come to their field day so we're here helping them to enjoy their day."

After fueling up with nutritious smoothies, Succop and Williamson warmed up by joining the students jumping rope and then moved on to more competitive tug-of war and dodgeball games.

Titans cheerleaders, Kelsey and Lauren along with T-Rac were also on hand and joined in the activities. 

"It's been a great experience!" said Jodi Green, principal of Rucker-Stewart Middle School.  "These students had no idea, so we made this a big surprise for them.  I wanted them to get a reward since they have worked hard with the FUTP60 program this year."

"Their coordinated school health director and their child nutrition director got together and wrote for a grant from the SUDIA through the FUTP60 funds to get equipment to start a smoothie program in all 14 middle schools and 8 high schools as well as a Grab N' Go breakfast next year so we're real excited to support that program and we're here kicking it off today with a fitness day." said Benton.

FUTP60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council, the Southeast Dairy Association and the NFL.  It's all about getting students to 'Fuel Up' with nutrient-rich foods missing from their diets, like low-fat and fat-free milk and milk products, fruits, vegetables and whole grains and to 'get-up and play' for 60 minutes a day.  New research shows that better nutrition starting with breakfast, coupled with increased physical activity can lead to better academic achievement.

"The earlier you start knowing how to take care of your body the better off you'll be in the long-term," said Williamson.  "I make sure to eat my dairy products and vegetables which helps me to wake up with more energy and feel more efficient during the day."

"The relationship we have with the Titans is the best in the world," Benton said.  "They understand that we want to make a difference, they want to make a difference with the students and it's been a fantastic partnership because they are involved, they help support and go beyond the call of duty.  I can't be more appreciative to what I see the Titans doing out in our communities to try and make a difference with our kids in health and wellness."

The NFL Play 60 campaign is designed to tackle childhood obesity by getting kids active through in school, afterschool and team-based programs.  The Southeast Dairy Association and the Titans work together to help make wellness part of the game plan in Tennessee schools through the Play 60 campaign/Fuel Up to Play 60.   The program encourages schools to make healthy changes in students' eating habits and physical activity.

Titans kicker Ryan Succop, linebacker Avery Williamson join SUDIA to support Rucker Stewart Middle School's Field Day. (Photos: Lynne McCracken)

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