It’s a Wednesday evening at Day Air Ballpark and fans line the plaza as they wait for the gates to open. But they’re not here to see the Dayton Dragons.
They’re dressed in Cincinnati Bengals gear, and they’ve come to see some of their favorite NFL football players participate in a sport outside their comfort zone.
Inside the stadium, more than 25 current and former Bengals players and staff prepare to trade in tackles and touchdowns for stolen bases and home runs.
They will soon take the field for the inaugural Logan Wilson Celebrity Softball Game to raise awareness for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Logan is a Bengals linebacker and initiated the event to raise funds for The Brooks Joshua Anderson Foundation, a charity close to his heart.
“The dad who runs the foundation has been one of my best friends for some time now,” said Logan. “Due to an unfortunate circumstance, they lost their baby boy to SIDS …. So, they’re really all about promoting research towards SIDS and finding ways to prevent it from happening to future kids.”
The Anderson family attended and watched from the dugout as the game dedicated to their foundation took place.
“I have a unique platform being able to play in the NFL right now, so it’s an opportunity to give back to them and support a great cause,” continued Logan.
While waiting for the gates to open, attendees who came to support the Cincinnati Bengals, the Dayton Dragons, and—most importantly—SIDS awareness, participated in pre-game activities in the plaza.
As the presenting sponsor for the game, many of those activities were run by Kettering Health. Members of the Maternity team helped educate the community by encouraging people to test their swaddling skills on a baby doll, handing out sleep sacks, and providing resources on safe sleep for infants.
We also had stations where fans could take pictures with Who Dey, learn about sun safety from members of the Community Outreach team, and visit the Emergency Outreach team’s Touch a Truck vehicle.
The night began with a competitive home run derby, with linebacker Joe Bachie taking home the trophy. Jami Holbrook, a pharmacy medical assistance counselor at Kettering Health Dayton, kicked off the softball game by singing the national anthem.
The game featured Bengals legends like Chad “Ochocinco” Johnson and Giovani Bernard, as well as current star players like Sam Hubbard, Tee Higgins, DJ Reader, Trey Hendrickson, Joe Mixon, and Mike Hilton. Head coach Zac Taylor participated as well.
By coming to Dayton, Logan and the Bengals were able to reach more of the community with this important event. According to Logan, “It’s an opportunity for us to get out within the community instead of just being around Cincinnati. We can reach out within the Dayton community and have people come out and support a great foundation.”
Between innings, the Kettering Health First Aid team—represented by Kristi Bradford, John Hildebrand, and Katie Miller—was recognized for the care it provides at all events at Paycor Stadium, helping keep attendees safe. In the 2022 season, the team supported 30 events, totaling 950,000 fans.
Even after extra innings, and much to the competitive players’ dismay, the softball game ended in an 18-18 tie.
Logan hopes that this game becomes a tradition. “We’ll see how this year goes and we can learn from it and build from it. It would be something cool to do moving forward.”
Though the scoreboard showed a tie, the players walked away with their heads held high because they supported a cause much greater than softball or football—they helped save lives.
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