Amid a sea of pewter and red that spread across the front lawn of Florida Hospital Tampa on Tuesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Florida Hospital announced a new partnership focused on improving the health of the Bay area community and beyond.
Buccaneers Co-Chairman Bryan Glazer and Adventist Health System's Florida Region President and CEO Mike Schultz both spoke about the importance of the partnership, then cemented the relationship by exchanging a red Buccaneers jersey for a white doctor's coat. To conclude the presentation, a large banner was unveiled from the top of the building proclaiming it the official hospital of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
As part of the partnership, Florida Hospital and the Bucs will launch health initiatives designed to engage the community and transform places of work, home and play.
"We all know the best offense is a good defense and in health, the same rules apply," said Schultz. "Florida Hospital has an important role to play in creating a healthier community. We are very excited to partner together in an effort to bring new health programs into the community."
Florida Hospital operates 23 hospitals across the state. Its multi-year partnership with the Buccaneers includes plans for several community wide health events such as a Day of Wellness and Fitness Challenge.
"The Buccaneers take great pride in aligning with industry leaders such as Florida Hospital," said Glazer. "This partnership will be special because it provides a real opportunity to make a difference in our region through health education. Florida Hospital has distinguished itself as the premier healthcare provider in our state and we look forward to the activation of various community-based programs and initiatives."
In the Tampa area, 12 percent of the population suffers from diabetes, which is higher than the state average of 10 percent. Additionally, 25 percent of the population is obese, which is defined as an adult having a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or higher. These are just a few of the chronic health conditions that Florida Hospital and the Buccaneers hope to tackle by introducing unique community initiatives designed to improve the health of the community.
Glazer led a large contingent of Buccaneer representative to the event, including Buccaneers Cheerleaders and staff members, team mascot Captain Fear and four players who felt right at home on an elaborate stage decorated to resemble a pirate ship: punter Michael Koenen, defensive tackle Derek Landri, linebacker Dekoda Watson and center Jeremy Zuttah. The Buccaneer players were also fully on board with the event's commitment to creating a healthier Bay area.
"The more we can promote health and wellness, the more educated our generation can be – especially our younger generation," said Watson. "The more they can learn, the more they can carry on. I think we've been a little bit slack over the years as far as our health, you know, cheese on everything, salt on everything…we've got to slow it down. I mean, I'm guilty too.
"I think it's just a beautiful thing right now, being able to partner up with Florida Hospital. It just really shows what we're all about as far as health, and what better way than to team up with us?"
Opened in 1908, Florida Hospital is a faith-based institution focused on providing whole person care. It is one of the largest not-for-profit hospitals in the country, caring for more than two million patient visits per year – more than any other hospital in the country, according to the American Hospital Association. The Florida Division of Florida Hospital stretches from coast to coast with more than 4,600 patient beds.