Football fever is taking over Fresno Unified

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Running and passing drills filled the Baird Middle School gym in northwest Fresno-- to help kids get fit through football. (KFSN)

Running and passing drills filled the Baird Middle School gym in northwest Fresno-- to help kids get fit through football.

"We are hoping to support PE teachers through efforts to get kids more active in physical education and outside of physical education, through flag football," said Lorraine Bandelli, GENYOUth Foundation and Fuel Up to Play 60.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is the largest school wellness program in the country. Fresno Unified was one of just three communities in California chosen by theNFL, and the foundation, to receive a flag football kit and the training to go with it. "That was awesome because I'm actually in a football unit right now. So it gave me different drills and techniques I haven't been introduced to yet, so it will be something cool to take back to school," said Gary Olivarez /Tioga Middle School PE teacher.

Olivarez was having a blast working and learning with 60 other middle school teachers from across the district. Administrators say the game is giving kids cardiovascular exercise without realizing it. "The flag pulling game lasts five minutes, stop, put your hand over your heart and you're heart is pumping and kids do that, and they realize I don't have to be out running a mile to make my heart work," said Brett Mar, interim athletic manager.

Helping improve the heart health not only of these teachers but also future students. The middle school teachers will use these skills and kits back at their home schools.

From the passing to catching, teachers hope these football skills will get students moving and even help them find a love of the game.
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