Steelers' players understand better than anyone the importance of staying active, eating healthy and being in good shape, things that are all necessary for them to compete on the football field each week.
That is why they appreciate the work done by students at Linton Middle School in Penn Hills and Pittsburgh Langley K-8 as a part of the Play 60 Challenge.
The Play 60 Challenge is a program through the NFL where teams and the American Heart Association work together to encourage kids to be active for at least 60 minutes a day, as well as develop healthy eating habits.
Steelers Brett Keisel and Kelvin Beachum rewarded the students for their efforts by visiting the schools and presenting each with a $1,250 grant from the NFL Foundation to use for fitness equipment.
"I find it entertaining and special that these kids take it so serious," said Beachum. "They come out with the physical education teachers and do everything they are asked to do to complete the challenge. It's not because they are hoping to have a Steelers' player come in if they win. They do it because they see the need to live a healthy, clean life as far as eating the right things and exercising."
The Play 60 Challenge requires students to get 60 minutes of exercise a day while charting their activity and what they eat in order to promote a healthier lifestyle.
"Childhood obesity rates are at an all-time high in this country, with nearly one in three kids/teens being overweight or obese," said Karen Colbert, Director of Communications for the American Heart Association. "Inactive children are likely to become inactive adults, which is why it is so critical that young people learn to make physical activity a regular part of their daily lives.
"The Steelers organization can be proud of the outstanding contribution their players make to this program. The Steelers' players inspire students to perform strong, both physically and academically every day."
Beachum understands that every kid enjoys different forms of exercise, and wanted to make sure they understood as long as they stay active it all works.
"Getting that exercise is important," said Beachum. "When you see the statistics, comparing America to other countries, how our kids are somewhat obese to other countries, we need to send the message that you have to get out there and exercise. Video games are cool but exercise is what you need.
"At Linton they talked about how some girls like dancing and gymnastics. It can be any sport they take part in, any activity gets the heart rate up. It's important they understand you need to do those things, you need to stay active."