Chiefs and YMCA help kids with special needs get moving

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. —  Health experts say the nation’s childhood obesity rate is at an all-time high. There are national efforts to get kids moving, but it can be challenging for those with special needs. Two groups of superstars got quite the reception on Tuesday.

Mixed in with the Kansas City Chiefs’ rookie club, are some pretty special little athletes. They all took the field for some drills for an hour, with proud moms and dads cheering and taking pictures.

This is part of the National Football League’s ‘Play 60’ initiative, which urges kids to get 60 minutes of physical activity a day. The YMCA Challenger Complex knows how difficult that can be to achieve, with kids who have mental and physical disabilities, but they’ve taken care of all that

The YMCA has said that the entire play area was designed with inclusion in mind.

“With removing some of the barriers kids with wheelchairs, walkers are now able to participate fully,” Michelle Ford, Vice President of the Greater Kansas City YMCA, said.

Its got rubber synthetic Astroturf, and easy access for wheelchairs. It’s not clear what kids thought was cooler. Playing on their specialized playground, or hanging out with Chiefs players.

“It’s really great, the fact that the Chiefs players get to come out and the kids get to interact with them, and all,” 12-year-old Lucas Chevalier said.

“They all look up to them, they all enjoy what they’re doing so it’s great to have that kind of feedback,” parent Schylon Kubic said.

“For programs like this, just to take the opportunity to show how important it is for young kids to get outside and play and no matter where you’re from and no matter what life throws your way, there’s always great sports like this,” Chiefs’ rookie Mike Catapano said.

An estimated one-in-three kids and teens are obese in this country, showing the need to get youth active. YMCA representatives said they won’t let anything get in the way of them doing that.

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