ETSU athletics promotes health awareness throughout community

Friday, January 18, 2008

JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 18, 2008) - The ETSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics will host its first of three event this year to kick-off a new emphasis on the promotion of healthy lifestyles within the ETSU and Northeast Tennessee-Southwest Virginia community this weekend at the Niswonger Invitational. 


The event will be hosted by the ETSU Track & Field program and will promote fitness and health for children. The Elementary Shuttle Relays will take place Friday night during the Niswonger Invitational Track and Field Meet, beginning at 7 p.m. Schools from all around the Johnson City area have been invited to compete in the special event, as third, fourth and fifth grade students will be competing in relay events.


"ETSU track and field aims to promote fitness, a healthy lifestyle, and sport through the elementary relays," said Mandy Virgets, ETSU assistant track and field coach. "We hope to provide them with an opportunity to experience the fun and excitement of competition at an early level." 


Along with this weekend's event, ETSU Athletics is also hosting two additional events in promoting health and awareness for fatal diseases. Sara Hacker, ETSU Athletics Marketing Director said, "A lot of our events come together to promote healthy lifestyles not just in our athletes, but for our staff and our fans."


The event "Pack the House" will be held in order to increase heart disease awareness. For the NCAA "Pack the House" event, the marketing team from the ETSU athletic department has teamed up with Mountain States Health Alliances to host a Luncheon, Fashion Show and themed basketball game. All of the proceeds of this event will go toward buying Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDS) for local charities and other entities.


Prior to the basketball game, ETSU Athletics and MSHA will host a luncheon that features heart-healthy food and a Red Dress fashion show at noon in the Memorial Center. The models featured in the fashion show are women in the Tri-Cities area who have been affected directly by heart disease. Admission to the luncheon is $15 and individuals can call 1-800-888-5551 and hit option 4 to register.


Hacker chose the women's basketball game occurring on February 2nd, in order to incorporate the number two, all throughout the event. The motto for the event states, "Two teams, 1 Fight: Women against Heart Disease." The women's basketball game against Kennesaw State will begin at 2 p.m. on February 2nd, and admission is $2 per person.


The goal of this event is to have 3,000 fans in attendance at the game, as Buc fans are encouraged to wear red for awareness of heart disease. Also, members of the women's basketball team will sport red shoe laces.  Souvenirs such as a miniature red basketball will be handed out to fans, and the models for the Red Dress fashion show will have a second opportunity to show off their dresses during half-time.


"Heart disease is the number one cause of death in women," Hacker said. "This event is a great opportunity to combine our basketball game with the Red Dress Luncheon so everyone can team up to help fight this disease."


Along with heart disease, the women's basketball team will also get involved in fighting breast cancer, in the event called "Think Pink" week.  This effort is nationally recognized through the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) which raises breast cancer awareness throughout the campus, community and on the court.


ETSU will host the "Think Pink" basketball game on February 16 at 1:30 inside Memorial Center as the Lady Bucs will be playing Lipscomb.


The ETSU women's basketball team will be one of six-hundred plus schools who have committed to participate in the special week. Members of the basketball team will be wearing pink shoe laces and those in attendance also are encouraged to wear pink. Donations to fight breast cancer will be collected throughout the basketball game.


Hacker said, "We hope this opportunity will bring awareness to women who have fought breast cancer, make other young women aware of how common the disease is and encourage them to take the proper precautionary steps in preventing breast cancer."


The main purpose of incorporating ETSU athletics in health causes is to increase awareness all through the community and set an example of healthy lifestyles. This includes working with other organizations on campus, bringing people together for these events, and involving clubs such as Buc Wild and Junior Buc Wild, for younger people to know the importance of a healthy lifestyle.


 "From young kids to adults, we as an NCAA program would like to be known for showing concern and trying to take a positive step in setting the precedent for others to follow," said Hacker. "We would like to think of this as opportunity for community relations and want to support these events because we feel like they are a great outreach for this." 


For more information on how ETSU athletics participates in community service events, please visit for more information.