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Published: Friday, 6/28/2013

Healthy living part of local camp

Mitchell, Jackson want to fight obesity while teaching basketball

BY DONALD EMMONS
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

Basketball fundamentals will be stressed during the 23rd year of the Mitchell-Jackson Youth Basketball camp.

Dribbling, shooting, and passing will be taught and acknowledged, just like in past summers.

However, Todd Mitchell and Jim Jackson have decided their annual summer basketball camp also needs to emphasize the importance of health and wellness to the boys and girls attending the four-day event, held July 8-11 at St. Francis de Sales.

Understanding the food pyramid is more vital for the campers — ranging from fifth grade to 12th grade — than knowing coach John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.

“I think it’s very important,” said Jackson, the Big Ten Network basketball analyst and retired NBA guard who played at Macomber High, about discussing health and nutrition during the camp. “It’s a big issue right now, especially with childhood obesity.

“If we can facilitate [good health practices] in camp, that’s excellent.”

Childhood obesity in the United States has more than doubled since 1980, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC reports children between ages 6-11 who identified as obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2010.

Mitchell and Jackson recognized that there was a need to address health and wellness, prompting the longtime friends to add nutritionists and trainers to their list of guest speakers during the camp’s daily activities.

“The big part of the camp that we want to have this year — not just from a basketball standpoint — we want to have a healthy living aspect,” said Mitchell, who was an All-Big Ten forward at Purdue and standout at St. Francis. “We’re going to have a lot of discussions about diet, healthy living choices, exercise, as well as drug prevention.

“Kids need to understand how important those aspects are too. It’s not just about basketball.”

The camp, previously held at the University of Toledo and Owens Community College before moving this year to St. Francis, will offer time on the courts for fundamentals and daily contests.

The camp’s origin included the involvement of former Ohio State and Bowsher standout Dennis Hopson. Hopson is an assistant coach at Bowling Green State University.

“We’re in year 23 of the tournament, and we’re still pushing along,” Mitchell said. “Once we get to 25, we’ll see what happens.”

A turnout of approximately 100-150 campers is expected with a cost is $125 or $150 after Sunday. Go to www.toddjimmyhoops.com for more information and registration.

Contact Donald Emmons at: demmons@theblade.com, 419-724-6302 or on Twitter @DemmonsBlade.



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