A football game with heart

by Phil Saken

“We’re happy to play a meaningful role in the heart health initiative sponsored by the Office of the Chief Wellness Officer,” said Director of Marching and Athletic Bands Christopher Hoch, PhD. “As our band forms a heart on the field, we hope it sends a clear message to Buckeye fans everywhere to make healthy choices to benefit their hearts.”

Last November, the Buckeyes’ match against the Maryland Terrapins was also a special heart health football game, themed “O-Heart-I-O.” Many partners teamed together to promote heart health, including the National Forum for Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention, The Ohio State University Office of the Chief Wellness Officer and Buckeye Wellness Innovators, and the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance. Their purpose: to highlight the risk associated with heart disease – the No. 1 cause of death in the country – and to share information to help people reduce that risk.


“One out of every two Americans has a chronic disease,” said Bernadette Melnyk, PhD, APRN-CNP, university chief wellness officer and dean of the College of Nursing at Ohio State, “but 80% of those cases is totally preventable with some lifestyle behavior changes.”

Fans were treated to heart health information in a variety of ways, including a pull-out “know your numbers” card in the game program to help people reduce their risk and customized public service announcements broadcast on the scoreboard about how to walk off fan-favorite food (more than 10,000 steps for one soft pretzel!). Our nursing students in the marching band got a kick out of the event as well: “We thought it was so cool, seeing both parts of our world combining!” Taylor Thompson said. Sarah Parise added, “It was really cool seeing Dean Bern on the side. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s our college!’”