LAKEWOOD RANCH — Connor Yaryura eats more vegetables now. Carrots are his favorite. He likes cauliflower, too.
The seventh grader at Nolan Middle School plays soccer twice a week and jumps around on a trampoline for an hour the other three days.
It’s all part of Yaryura’s commitment to Nolan’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program, which kicked off Tuesday morning with a presentation from former Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Derrick Brooks.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is sponsored by the Dairy Council of Florida and the NFL and is designed to get students involved in a physical activity for at least one hour a day. The goal is to make a dent in childhood obesity.
“You got to get away from the computers and go outside and do something for an hour,” Brooks told the Nolan students who filled the school’s gym.
Yaryura and 15 other Nolan students have been involved in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program for the past month. The students record their activities and eating habits on fueluptoplay60.com. They take quizes, are given challenges and are awarded points.
The school with the most points receives either a cafateria or gym makeover. The students who earn the most points win a personal training session with an NFL player.
“When they asked me if I wanted to do it, I said sure,” Yaryura said.
Pam Rahn is a teacher and volleyball coach at Nolan. She said Nolan is one five pilot schools in the Tampa Bay area participating in the program.
“We went to a meeting about this and it was an easy decision, because we believe in fitness and conditioning,” Rahn said.
Brooks, whose care with the Bucs ended in February when he was released as part of the team’s overhaul, spoke to the students and answered questions for 30 minutes.
Cheyanne Gibson asked Brooks if he liked the Florida Gators, which drew a laugh from the former Florida State All-American.
For the record, Brooks said he likes Florida because it’s a Florida school and said there is only one day a year when he roots against the Gators, and that would be the day of the Florida-Florida State game. brooks did add that he is a big fan of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow.
When asked what he wanted to be when he was in middle school, Brooks said an insurance man