David Lawrence Center Residential and Inpatient Clients Get Physical and Inspired During Recent Visit from NFL Players

July 26th, 2016

Four NFL draft picks representing the Dallas Cowboys, Cincinnati Bengals and Buffalo Bills took time out of their busy training schedules to stop by David Lawrence Center in July. While on campus, they inspired, motivated and trained alongside children in the Crisis Stabilization Unit and adults in the Crossroads residential substance abuse rehab program.

The NFL athletes, John Conner, Rolan Milligan, Andrew Billings and Bryson Albright, were in town training with Clif Marshall, a former strength and conditioning coach for the Cincinnati Bengals and founder of Ignition Athletic Performance Group. Ignition is a Southwest Florida based organization that helps prepare a select few number of NFL players for their upcoming NFL training camps, which begin at the end of the month.

Through a collaboration with the Crossroads contracted fitness trainers from Max Flex Fitness and Ignition, they masterminded this once in a lifetime initiative to help benefit both the clients and the players.

The players held two separate age appropriate training sessions. One group was held in the secure Crisis Unit fitness courtyard with four children and another with six adults from the Crossroads Fitness Court. The players and coaches did fitness drills and spoke to the clients about their own personal journeys of perseverance through life’s challenges.

Kristi Osborn, David Lawrence Center Rehabilitation Specialist, said the star-struck kids absolutely loved their visit. She adds, “All of the kids were especially moved by the personal stories each player and the coach shared about what they had overcome in their own lives. One 9-year-old child who had experienced a great deal of painful trauma, said ‘it was the most awesome day of her life’.”

Nino Magaddino, owner of Max Flex Fitness, stated, “Our trainers have an invested interest in using fitness as a means to help others in recovery and with mental illnesses. This amazing, unique opportunity was a no brainer to present to the David Lawrence Center so these young leaders and athletes could help inspire them to reach their goals and change their life.”

Josh Deer, a personal trainer with both Max Flex Fitness and Ignition, was on hand helping facilitate the training sessions. He shares, “It was an amazing day for everyone. I feel truly blessed to be able to work with the clients at David Lawrence Center and these athletes. Helping better someone else’s life by encouraging them to believe in themselves is what this day was all about.” Deer is also the owner of Top Pick Performance of Naples which works with local youth who play football. He understands the power of helping people set goals, push themselves and maintain a healthy lifestyle especially at a young a age.

Deer adds, “Outreach like this brings hope to individuals who are struggling with mental illness and addictions. It displays how an individual can achieve success no matter what they’re circumstances are in life.”

The day proved to be a real treat for the clients and employees who were able to participate as well. They were truly grateful that these gentleman took time out of their busy schedules to meet with them. Their presence and generosity inspired them to want to work out harder and prove to the players that they could do it.

Initiatives like this demonstrate the powerful impact health, wellness and fitness can have on those we serve. Support for the Center’s wellness initiatives can come in many ways from donations to in-kind services. For example, a generous planned gift from Denis and Linda McCarthy in honor of their son who lost his battle to addiction provided funding for the Crossroads Fitness Court, now named Bryan’s Court. For them, the new fitness area was the perfect place to combine the memory of his passion for athletics and his lifelong, bighearted journey to help others. Another example is the in-kind, weekly yoga for sobriety services provided by Green Monkey Yoga. Lastly, donations and grants have also helped purchase fitness equipment such as jump ropes, hula hoops, athletic balls, work out DVDS, yoga mats, stationary bikes and sporting equipment.

Donations of select new or used fitness equipment and contributions to fund fitness education and training sessions are welcome. If you are interested in learning more about how you can support the fitness activities at the David Lawrence Center, call or e-mail Darcy Taylor, Director of Constituent Relations, at 239-354-1419.

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