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01-22-2009, 05:35 PM
Bettis Essay Wins Pittsburgh Student Free Super Bowl Trip
'NFL Play 60' Contest Pays Off Big For Homer-Center Boy

http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/hea ... etail.html (http://www.thepittsburghchannel.com/health/18539678/detail.html)

Sam Kimmel, of Homer City, Indiana County, has never been to a Steelers game. Now, he's about to go to the ultimate game. He entered a contest about fitness and his battle with asthma and beat out 20,000 other kids to be named this year's NFL Play 60 "Super Kid." He will hand the game ball to an official before the Steelers and Cardinals kick off at Raymond James Stadium on Feb. 1.

"I play basketball, baseball, football, soccer, pretty much anything. During snowy days I go sledding and snow boarding," Kimmel told Channel 4 Action News' Jennifer Miele.

There aren't many sports the 13-year-old doesn't like to play. He said his love of active fun helped him win the contest.

"I had to write two short essays. One on how to stay fit and the other on how NFL players inspire me," said Kimmel.

Kimmel, a student in the Homer-Center School District, won the NFL-sponsored challenge that calls for kids to commit to 60 daily minutes of exercise and answer two questions about why being healthy and active is important.

Kimmel said all of his exercise helps him cope with asthma. Diagnosed two years ago, Kimmel said he doesn't let his condition stop him. He said his role model is Jerome Bettis, who overcame the chronic respiratory disease and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Steelers in 2006.

"His old playing days really inspired me because it kept me moving, because I have problems with my asthma. He had even harder times. So that really motivated me to keep going," said Kimmel.

"Exercise and being active has helped me with my asthma. The doctors told me that exercise is the best thing for it. I have been active every day since," Kimmel wrote in his essay. "NFL players are obvious inspirations to many, but to me there is one that really sticks out. Jerome Bettis: The Bus. He was told that he had asthma when he was 14 ... Now his old playing days with asthma inspire me to work harder."

The contest judges included New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Washington Redskins wide receiver Santana Moss. The prize is a trip to the Super Bowl with 3 extra tickets for his two sisters and their mother. They'll get to spend a week in Florida attending NFL Kids Days and then, on Super Bowl Sunday, Kimmel will hand the refs the game ball.

"I'm excited. I can't believe this actually happened," said Kimmel's sister, Jackie Kimmel.

"My mom was the one that told me the news. She was crying when she told me. I couldn't believe it. My eyes watered up and almost fainted in the chair behind me," said Sam Kimmel. "It's a dream come true."

Also as part of the prize Kimmel's face will appear on boxes of Kellogg's Frosted Flakes this spring. The family also gets $500 in spending money.