TAMPA – Positioned inside Florida Hospital Tampa’s center courtyard in a simulated likeness of Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ signature pirate ship, the team’s co-chairman, Bryan Glazer, along with Mike Schultz, president and CEO of the Adventist Health System Florida Region, recently staged a pep rally aimed at tackling major health issues that plague the greater community.
In the company of selected Bucs players, cheerleaders, and an enthusiastic crowd of hospital staff members, the duo announced a first-of-its-kind Florida Hospital/Buccaneer partnership in an all-out blitz to curb the incidence of life-threatening human conditions like diabetes and obesity.
“We all know the best offense is a good defense and in health, the same rules apply,” said Schultz, who oversees Florida Hospital’s 23 facilities across the state.
“We strive to be community champions and it’s obvious the hospital shares that same focus,” he said.
Glazer presented Schultz with a Buccaneer jersey imprinted with the words, “Florida Hospital 1,” and in exchange, Schultz gave him a lab shop coat emblazoned with the Bucs red and pewter logo.
Schultz noted that 12 percent of people in the Tampa area suffer from diabetes, a two percent greater incidence than the statewide average. He also pointed to the fact that one in four residents in the community are obese.
Those statistics alone, he said, are reason enough to do battle to block unhealthy life styles.
Several joint health initiatives are in the works, including a Fitness Challenge in November. Others include a Day of Wellness, A Bucs Dream Youth Program and Bucs Play 60, a Super Bowl-based contest in which one school from the Tampa Bay area will be the recipient of a National Football League grant to be used for programs that promote healthy practices.
The chosen school will also be treated to a visit from the Bucs players.
It’s a promotion that will take place in all 32 NFL markets as well as two communities with no NFL affiliation.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at JoyceCMcKenzie@gmail.com.