Carolina Panthers players hold field day for Fort Bragg schoolchildren

Monique John Image
Friday, May 5, 2023
Carolina Panthers players hold field day for children at Fort Bragg
The Carolina Panthers came to Fort Bragg Friday for a special coaching session with the installation's schoolchildren

FORT BRAGG, N.C. (WTVD) -- In time for military appreciation month, the Carolina Panthers came to Fort Bragg Friday for a special coaching session with the installation's schoolchildren. Nearly 150 children from Bowley Elementary got a taste of life in the NFL through a day of sports with the team.

"It's good to come out here, show them what we actually do so they get a little experience of how it feels like to be in the NFL with drills we go through on a daily basis," said Marquis Haynes, a linebacker for the Panthers.

The high-intensity camp is motivating kids to get 60 minutes of exercise and lead healthy lifestyles. The kids said the message is really getting through to them.

"Everyone's always saying if you start habits young, you'll keep the habits as you get older. So, I think it's important to start being active now so that we'll stay active and fit, and things won't be as hard for us as we get older," Amara Robinson, a student of Bowley Elementary said.

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The event is the fifth annual Keep Pounding Day sporting event held by the Carolina Panthers with North Carolina's USO. The event series has been making several stops throughout the Carolinas.

"It's healthy to go outside and start playing around and stuff, and it will teach them to do that more instead of staying inside, sitting around, doing nothing," said Mason DeLeon, also a Bowley Elementary student.

The sports event is just as much about getting the kids to break a sweat as it is about celebrating their parents in the military for the sacrifices they make day in and day out.

"Really what we're hoping to accomplish today first is letting the service members and the folks here on base understand the gratitude that we have for their service to our country. It never is taken for granted so it's an opportunity for us to reinforce that," said Riley Fields, the director of community relations for the Carolina Panthers.

"How often do you get to meet a pro player?" said Brian Knight, a manager of the Sandhills Area Senior Center for the USO. "Even if these kids don't know who they are yet, at some point they will and will be like, 'hey, I remember I met that player back in the day.' And then just the experience they're having with their classmates. They're going to go back and they'll be talking about this for a long time."