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Atlanta Falcons visit Whitlow Elementary School near Cumming
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Atlanta Falcon’s offensive lineman Ben Garland puts on his game face Tuesday for students at Whitlow Elementary as part of the Play 60 campaign. - photo by Micah Green

CUMMING — Wolves and Falcons met Tuesday to play at a local school.

Two players from the Atlanta Falcons came to Whitlow Elementary with staff members and the team’s mascot, Freddie Falcon, to lead a First Down for Fitness event. The event is part of the Play 60 campaign, which encourages one hour per day of physical activity.

“Georgia has one of the highest youth obesity rates in the country,” said Chris Millman, director of community relations for the Falcons. “We’re trying to do what we can to promote physical activity among our youth.”

A goal of the program is to encourage physical activity while also having fun.

The campaign visited Shiloh Point Elementary in September to film a commercial for Play 60.

“We love being able to go out and experience doing this stuff with the kids,” Millman said. “They love it. We love it. We love football. We love showing them what a great time this is.”

Students in third-fifth grades at the school on Castleberry Road participated in running and ball-catching drills professional football players go through during practice.

“We want them to be moving every day, and part of Play 60 and part of our initiative is they are moving at least an hour a day in rigorous activity,” said Keith Furstenberg, a physical education and science/math teacher at Whitlow.

Two players — linebacker Joplo Bartu and guard Ben Garland — conducted stations that required students to run over pads or across ropes before catching a football and throwing it back.

Other stations asked participants to dance to a song, throw a football into a target or run through padded cones and dive onto a mat.

Students were chosen to participate in the program upon completion of school-related activities.

“They have been keeping track with their physical activities for the last couple of weeks in a journal,” Furstenberg said, “and graphing it so they’re also doing math standards while keeping track of their own information.”