Special Olympics Michigan Kids Head to Ford Field for VIP Experience with Detroit Lions

Brianna Neace

| 3 min read

Roary the Lion posing with kids at a Detroit Lions game.
DETROIT, August 15, 2017— More than 50 children from Special Olympics Michigan will head to The New Ford Field on Saturday, Aug. 19 for the #MIKidsCan Play Like a Lion Experience, a VIP event featuring on-field exercises and player meet-and-greets, courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and the Detroit Lions. The experience, now in its third year, aims to encourage Michigan kids to adopt healthy habits they can carry with them throughout adulthood. “The #MIKidsCan Play Like a Lion Experience is a one-of-a-kind opportunity that encourages kids to get active and healthy in a fun, engaging way, and highlights the ongoing need for additional education related to improving children’s health across Michigan,” said Andy Hetzel, vice president of Corporate Communications at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “Alongside the Detroit Lions, we’re looking forward to sharing this exciting experience with these deserving athletes.” As a part of the experience, athletes from Special Olympics Michigan will receive:
  • Participation in a 60-minute, on-field football clinic with Detroit Lions Football Education coaching staff and mascot Roary
  • A spot in the fan tunnel, where Lions players rush onto the field prior to the first pre-season game against the New York Jets
  • A healthy dinner
  • A special meet-and-greet experience with current and alumni players
Offered to youth athletes ages six to 18, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan partnered with Special Olympics Michigan for this year’s #MIKidsCan Play Like a Lion Experience to recognize the young girls and boys who stay committed to regular physical activity and overall health. To date, Special Olympics Michigan has helped more than 23,000 child and adult athletes participate in competitive sports events across the state. “This is an amazing opportunity for our athletes,” said Aaron Mills, Sr. Director of Marketing and Communications Director for Special Olympics Michigan. “Many of our athletes who are attending play Flag Football for Special Olympics, so to be able to play on the Ford Field turf while learning the game from Lions Football Education coaches is an experience they’ll never forget.” Adding to the excitement, participants will also get a first-look at The New Ford Field, featuring $100-million in renovations. Updates to The New Ford Field include a complete overhaul of Ford Field’s audio/visual guest experience with new videoboards and an upgraded sound system, as well as renovated stadium suites and premium club areas. “The #MIKidsCan Play Like a Lion Experience with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Special Olympics Michigan is an event we are proud to be a part of,” said Detroit Lions Vice President of Partnerships Bill Hawker. “Both organizations are valuable advocates in the metro Detroit community teaching the importance of healthy habits early and often, which aligns with our organization’s priorities. To be able to combine that message and provide an exclusive pre-game experience at Ford Field for the athletes is remarkable.” The #MIKidsCan Play Like a Lion Experience supports Blue Cross’s ongoing commitment to encouraging kids to establish healthy habits early in life that are more likely to be carried into adulthood. Over the last 11 years, Blue Cross has given more than $6.5 million in support of kids’ health and wellness initiatives across the state, reaching more than 230,000 children in nearly 500 schools. For more information on Blue Cross’ ongoing efforts to improve childhood health, visit or follow #MIKidsCan on Twitter. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit and

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