With the flip of a tire and the smack of a four square ball, Dont'a Hightower makes it clear he is taking gym class seriously. Competing fiercely against the students of Webster Avenue Elementary in Providence, R.I., he is adamant he will not take it easy on his competitors.
But after a heated tire-flipping race, Dont'a breaks with laughter. He gets beat, and he's a good sport about it.
Dont'a spent Tuesday morning at the school to talk about the importance of healthy eating, exercise and to participate in gym class. He is welcomed warmly, running through students who line the hallways and giving out high fives on his way to the gym.
In front of an attentive audience of students, Dont'a drives home the message that he excels in the NFL because he takes care of his body.
Patriots linebacker Dont'a Hightower and the New England Patriots Foundation teamed up with Campbell’s Soup and donated 350 cans of soup to Webster Elementary School in Providence, R.I. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, 2018. Hightower spoke about the importance of healthy eating and exercise, and guided students through exercise stations.
"It's very important to stay physically active. One reason among a lot is to stay healthy," he said. "Being a professional athlete, something that is very important to me is being healthy. In order for me to do that besides playing football, I love playing basketball. I love swimming. When I was in fifth grade, it seems like a long time ago, I use to love coming in here and playing basketball and dodgeball."
Before heading outside to play, the students have a chance to ask Dont'a questions, including how he trains his body for endurance and what he would be if he wasn't a football player.
"I used to want to be a Power Ranger," Dont'a said. It's no surprise, but the answer goes over well with his audience.
Outside, he doesn't hesitate to show the students he means business when it comes to getting exercise.
"It’s been great. I don’t really get too many opportunities to get out, see the kids and have fun like that, but it’s been awesome," Dont'a said. "It’s been amazing. We’re about to go outside in the freezing cold and have some fun."
The students moved through stations of four square, agility drills, cardio, yoga, ropes and tires, and the whole time, Dont'a is there coaching them, challenging them and smiling along with them. As they run with footballs in hand, he hypes them up and cheers them on.
In a partnership with Campbell's, Dont'a makes sure each student goes home with a can of SpaghettiOs. You can check out more from the day in the gallery below.