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Football players tackle Alzheimer's

GRANDVILLE, Mich. (WZZM) - The Wyoming Wolves varsity football team spent Friday afternoon away from the practice field working on something that has nothing to do with football. The team wore purple jerseys as they visited Brookcrest Christian Rehabilitation & Life Center in Grandville to meet residents and make contact with patients suffering from Alzheimer's and dementia.

"We were approached by some parents who've had dementia and Alzheimer's in their family," says first-year head coach Tom White. "It's a crippling disease. We're a very family-oriented community. A lot of the kids, when we asked them if they're familiar (with Alzheimer's), a lot of the kids are familiar through family connections. In that way, it's united these kids and they all understand and it's something that they're all probably going to have to relate to sometime in their life."

Wyoming will play its third annual "Purple Game" to raise awareness and money for Alzheimer's research on September 21st against Sparta High School. The program began at Wyoming Park in 2010. Wyoming Park this year consolidated with Rogers High School to form one high school. The "Reason to Hope" program has raised $10,000 in its first two years.

According to numbers provided by Brookcrest, more than five million Americans currently suffer from Alzheimer's. That number is expected to grow to as many as 16 million by the year 2050. "We are blessed to have a community that cares," says Brookcrest business development manager Joel Elsenbroek.


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