Nationals pitchers Aaron Barrett and Blake Treinen, along with team athletic trainers Lee Kuntz and Steve Gober, will team up the Taylor Hooton Foundation on Saturday to host the National PLAY Campaign at Nationals Park.
The Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) created PLAY (Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth) in 2004 as a way to raise awareness of pediatric health issues and to confront the obesity epidemic in the United States. Since its conception, PLAY has held more than 150 events in all 30 Major League ballparks to teach tens of thousands of children about the importance of a healthy lifestyle.
In May of this year, PBATS teamed up with The Arc, a nonprofit with the goal of promoting the protection and inclusion of individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities, to broaden the scope of PLAY worldwide. The Arc advocates for people with diagnoses including Down syndrome, autism, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, cerebral palsy and others.
"We are thrilled about this partnership with The Arc," PBATS president Mark O'Neal said in a statement from PBATS. "This is a great platform to spread the message of inclusion and to afford children with disabilities the opportunity to participate in the PLAY Campaign and spend a day at their favorite Major League ballpark."
PLAY Campaign events usually last two hours and feature various stations led by athletic training professionals from across the country. For the first time this year, children with and without disabilities with participate alongside one another.
The event runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon ET.