On the Field, Not for Practice – 9/23

It’s Tuesday, the day off for players, but there’s still plenty of activity at the turf training field. It’s a strange place to see activity — this is the first time I’ve seen this field used for anything other than light running for players recovering from activity — and it’s doubly strange because most of the people out there aren’t pro players.

Redskins Park is hosting the Redskins Charitable Foundation’s 1st Down for Fitness today, a fitness fair for special needs children. Fifty students with disabilities have been brought here by the organization KEEN (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now), and are being led through a series of physical activities by Redskins players, strength and conditioning coaches, and student volunteers from Georgetown Prep.

“This helps our athletes get out in the communities and understand and work with other,” says Denise Brownlee of KEEN. “It’s great for the parents that their kids are part of a team, which families of kids with disabilities don’t usually have. For our volunteers it’s really about understanding the needs of people with disabilities.”

Andre Carter participated, and seemed genuinely taken with the event. “I think it’s partly the atmosphere,” he said, “for them to see Redskins players and be at the Redskins facility, but it’s also just a joy to be around people itself, to have guidance through obstacle courses and to have fun.”

“The kids out there don’t care whether you’re hurt, or starting,” said LB Matt Sinclair, who is on injured reserve. “To them you’re just a Redskins player. I think it’s awesome the impact we can have on those kids.”

The Georgetown Prep kids — most of whom regularly volunteer at KEEN events — split their enthusiasm between the young athletes they were helping and the pro athletes they were volunteering with.

“I think it was fun, and I think they got something out of it,” said Parker Mangold, a senior safety on the Prep football team. “It’s good to help people out.”

“I hope they learned some new exercise skills,” added Will Brown, Mangold’s defensive linesman classmate and teammate. Each of the guys listed a player at their own position for who they were most excited to meet — Chris Horton for Mangold; Andre Carter for Brown.

The 6’4″, 255 pound Brown had possibly the most entertaining reaction to meeting the Redskins: “You realize how small you are,” he said.


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