Former Super Bowl champion raises diabetes awareness at Boys and Girls Club

Former NFL Super Bowl champion Brendon Ayanbadejo teaches children from the Newhall Boys and Girls Club how to complete ladder drills on Wednesday July 11, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

By Tanner Nava
For The Signal


The American Diabetes Association’s Team Tackle hosted a “Project Power” camp for kids at the Santa Clarita Valley Boys and Girls Club on Wednesday.

Team tackle is an ADA initiative that is formed of current and former professional football players who work together to increase diabetes awareness. Project Power is a week-long camp for youth who are at risk for type 2 diabetes that focuses on wellness education, nutrition, and many other aspects of health in a fun-filled environment to help children learn ways to lower their risk of diabetes.

The event was led by Team Tackle member and former Super Bowl champion Brendon Ayanbadejo.

“It’s not as hard as people think,” Ayanbadejo said. “Two things you can do is just eat a little bit cleaner, eat a little bit healthier and then build an exercise. If you can change your body composition by five percent, type 2 diabetes is preventable.”

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Ayanbadejo and his team led the children through activities and exercise routines, as well as teaching the kids the importance of eating the proper foods, to maintain a healthy lifestyle. He also taught them about about how one can develop diabetes and ways to prevent it.

The main reason for Ayanbadejo’s diabetes activism is because his mother is currently living with type 2 diabetes.

“My mom has type 2 diabetes and its preventable,” he said. “So to get kids early on, I know some of these kids are as young as seven years old, to teach them about nurture over nature, some preventable things like preventing disease, preventing illness and to really start them off at a young age, it means everything.”

Ayanbadejo was joined by staff members from the Orange Theory Fitness team, which included professional singer and former American Idol contestant Elliot Yamin. Yamin is not only a diabetes awareness activist, but also has Type 1 Diabetes. He told the kids his story and how he still lives a normal life despite his disease, as well as why it’s important to maintain a healthy life in order to prevent diabetes.

Former American Idol contestant Elliot Yamin shares his experiences with Type 1 diabetes with children from the Newhall Boys and Girls Club on Wednesday July 11, 2018. Austin Dave/The Signal

“I talked a lot about my disease on (American Idol) and I put it on the forefront just to help raise awareness and once I really had a platform,” Yamin said, “I decided very early on to try and use that to share my experience with diabetes and hopefully be an inspiration to others.”

Laura Kirchhoff, management developer of the APA, was responsible for organizing the event.

“Everything that we are teaching them to do, I am trying very hard to do in my own life as well and relay that on to my family,” Kirchoff said.

The APA not only hosts these events to help the kids, but they also ask the parents to attend parts of the camp to learn some of the same lessons the kids are being taught.

The ADA plans to continue the spread of diabetes awareness through Team Tackle as well as many other clinics and camps. For more information on diabetes awareness and events, you can check out their website,

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