Aikman returns to gridiron to help kids stay fit

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on July 17, 2014 at 1:24 AM

ARLINGTON — It's a beautiful thing for Cowboys fans to see — Troy Aikman throwing passes inside AT&T Stadium on Wednesday.

His receivers were pint-sized; he called one of them "Salsa" because he did the Victor Cruz dance after catching a pass.

Aikman was taking part in a United Way of Metropolitan Dallas community service project. The organization is celebrating 90 years in Dallas with nine different events over nine months... with nine former Cowboys.

His message to kids was to eat right and be active for 60 minutes a day.

Aikman knows that the message is only good if it's received, and that's where he comes in.

"A guy like Troy Aikman is critical to this effort to engage more students," said Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth Foundation. "When he shares about the importance of being physically active, it's authentic."

"You know, when [professional athletes] said things that I thought would be helpful to me, I paid attention," Aikman recalled, talking about his childhood. "I don't minimize the impact that maybe I have."

The battle against childhood obesity is noble and necessary, which is why so many individuals and corporations have become involved.

"Being athletes, we're typically role models for younger kids," said Chalonda Goodman, a former University of Texas track athlete who is a volunteer for Texas Instruments. "So any time we can help inspire them to get out there and be active, that's great. I always like to do that."

"It's a pretty simple formula: That if kids exercise regularly and eat better, they get better grades," said Tom Greco, president of Frito-Lay. "And actually, we've been able to prove that quantitatively."

Fitness isn't an issue for the team that plays here in the fall, the Dallas Cowboys, but that team does have plenty of issues after three straight 8-8 seasons.

"I still think this team is talented enough to do some great things," Aikman said. "A lot of it comes down to who can stay healthy and who can get the right breaks at the right time in order to win some of these close games."

The football season can wait. Wednesday was about kids eating right and being active... and that includes doing the salsa.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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