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Former Lion talks about fitness

From the left, Lindsay Keenist, Luther Ellis and Leah Paul. (click for larger version)
November 17, 2010 - It's not everyday that high school students get the opportunity to listen to a former pro-bowl player from the National Football League.

That is exactly what 350 students at Oxford High School got to due on Tuesday, Nov. 10 when former Detroit Lion Luther Ellis stopped by to talk about the importance of being physically active and eating healthy as part of the NFL's Fuel Up to Play 60 initiative.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a free, youth-led programs that empowers kids to take charge of their health and become school leaders by spending 60 minutes a day engaged in physical activity and eating healthier foods such as low-fat and fat-free dairy products, fruits, vegetables and whole-grains.

The program is a nationwide joint effort between the National Dairy Council, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan, NFL, Detroit Lions and the United States Department of Agriculture.

According to Paul, Ellis, a two time pro-bowl defensive lineman for the Lions, encouraged the students to stay active, no matter what happens in life.

Ellis retired from the Lions in 2004 due to a back injury. He played with the Lions from 1995-2003.

"I really think the kids got something out of it," said Leah Paul, a junior at OHS, who helped organize the event with fellow junior Lindsay Keenist. "I think they received it very well because Ellis is a great speaker," Paul added.

Once Ellis finished speaking, a giant game of Mission Impossible was played, where the object was to get a slew of items across the gym without touching the floor.

"A lot of people got involved with it," Paul added. "It was a lot of fun and a good time."

She added that she agreed with Ellis's message.

"We were looking at the statistics on-line and America was one of the highest statistic ratings for childhood obesity," she said. "So if we start them younger, we can get them to stay healthy and start living healthier life-styles right now so they do not have problems later on."

Elementary and middle school students will have their opportunity to meet Ellis and hear his message about staying physically and nutritionally fit on Tuesday, Nov. 23 at Lakeville Elementary and Oxford Middle School.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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