Utecht keynotes ‘Fall Into Health’

Stevens Community Medical Center (SCMC) of Morris is hosting its third Fall Into Health on Monday, Oct. 24, from 5-8 p.m. in the Morris Area Elementary School, and all are invited to attend.

“This isn’t a Morris event,” said Robi Bowman, one of the event’s coordinators. “This is really a west central Minnesota event. Patients or residents of the whole area are welcome to come over. It is free and open to anyone. We don’t care if you are a patient of SCMC or not. The goal is to make everyone healthier.”

The evening will start with the community meal, served from 5-6:30 p.m. Dietary specialists from Morris Healthy Eating, the Morris Area Schools, University of Minnesota, Morris and the dietary department at SCMC came together to plan the meal. Their goal? Find a meal that is healthy and delicious. This year’s main course is shepherd’s pie. The meal will be made up of all local ingredients.

“You will be able to track the meal from farm to table,” said Bowman.

The meal will be served from 5-6:30 p.m. It is a free meal, and available to everyone.

Health-related booths will be set up during Fall Into Health. Contributed photo was taken at last year’s event.

Informational booths from a wide array of health-related professionals will be up from 5-6:30 p.m. These will include agencies outside of SCMC including chiropractors, home medical, home health and more. Most of the SCMC departments will also be represented in these booths.

“We want people to be able to get the information they are looking for,” said Bowman. “It is truly about bringing information and awareness to the community.”

Also during this time, people will have an opportunity to get their labs drawn and tested. The drawn blood will be tested for glucose, cholesterol and hemoglobin levels, and the results from these tests will be mailed directly to the person’s home. Those unable to get their labs drawn that day can receive a voucher and can come back and get them done at the clinic free of charge through Oct. 28, 2016.

“This is especially a great service for those who have a high deductible and may be reluctant to go in to get tested,” said Joan Spaeth, community outreach coordinator at SCMC. Spaeth added that there have been people who were tested at past events, and the results required immediate attention be given to the participants. “Had they not come in, they may not have known.”

A special provider panel, gives people an opportunity to ask questions an get answers directly from the providers at SCMC. Contributed photo was taken at last year’s event.

One other popular part of Fall Into Health is the Provider Panel.

Participants will have a chance to visit and ask questions of medical professionals from a variety of fields during the SCMC Provider Panel from 6:30-7 p.m. “This gives people an opportunity to write a question to a provider and then the providers will answer those questions during a half-hour presentation. There will be providers from family practice, behavioral medicine and more,” said Bowman. “It gives people a chance to really meet the people who will be treating them.”

One of the highlights of each Fall Into Health is the keynote speaker. This year, the speaker will be Ben Utecht, a former college and NFL football player, who will speak from 7-8 p.m. in the auditorium.

Utecht grew up in Hastings and always had big dreams. He loved to play football and dreamed of someday winning the Super Bowl. He also loved to sing and perform. Utecht was the starting tight end for the University of Minnesota Gophers football team for four years. He was undrafted but signed with the Indianapolis Colts in 2004. Thanks to his sure hands and 6-foot-6-inch frame, he became one of Peyton Manning’s favorite targets. In 2006, he played an important role in the Colts winning the Super Bowl. During his NFL career, Utecht sustained five documented concussions, leading him to retire in 2009.

While his football career was cut short, he still loves the game of football and is still around the game. But now, his focus is on being an advocate for sports brain injury awareness.

Ben Utecht, former football player for the Minnesota Gophers and Indianapolis Colts, will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Fall Into Health hosted by Stevens Community Medical Center at the Morris Elementary School. Utecht will also be available to sign his new book, Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away.

“I believe, as a speaker, that vulnerability equals connectivity,” said Utecht. “This is why I approach my keynote presentations with a mission of bringing you on an emotional journey through my life, into a Hall of Fame huddle, and to a field full of life’s lessons. All our lives tell a story, and this is how I tell mine.”

Utecht will openly discuss his experiences, from the injuries themselves to the ongoing nuerocognitive issues he experiences, including memory loss.

Utecht serves as the national spokesperson for the American Academy of Neurology and the American Brain Foundation. He has earned honors for his brave honesty and advocacy, receiving the 2014 Public Leadership in Neurology Award from the American Academy of Neurology.

Music also remains part of Utecht’s life. He is an accomplished singer and songwriter, performing contemporary and inspirational concerts across the country. His emotional single, You Will Always Be My Girls debuted in 2013 and has drawn more than one million views on YouTube. The song, which Utecht co-wrote, is a love letter to his wife Karyn and their daughter, as he fears that one day his brain injuries will lead him to not know them. Utecht has released four albums and was nominated for a 2012 Dove Award.

Utecht can also add writer next to his name. This summer, he released his book, Counting the Days While My Mind Slips Away. The book documents his rise to the NFL and his health struggles as a result of his concussions.

“We are excited to have him here,” said Spaeth. “He is a Minnesotan and is down to earth, and he understands what small communities are all about. It will be fun to hear him speak.”

Utecht will present from 7-8 p.m. in the auditorium. He will also speak to the Morris Area High School students earlier in the day. He will also have books available to purchase and sign after the presentation. For those who would like to purchase the book ahead of the event, it can be purchased through his Web page (www.ben-utecht.com) or through Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Free child care will be available for ages 1-10 from 6:30-8 p.m., and translators will be available for Spanish-speaking participants.

Major sponsors of SCMC’s Fall Into Health event include the Morris Area Chamber of Commerce, the University of Minnesota Morris, Morris Area Schools, Morris Healthy Eating, Thrifty White Pharmacy, The Bridge, Sodexo, KMRS/KKOK radio and The River 97.3 FM.

A booth setup at the 2015 Fall Into Health event.

SCMC includes a full-service clinic and hospital. It recently opened its new 10,000 square-foot inpatient and outpatient surgical wing. SCMC also announced a new partnership with the University of Minnesota Nursing Program relating to peripheral artery disease (PAD). It is called the PAD Prairie Initiative, and the partnership also includes Glacial Ridge Health System and Lake Region Health.

“The objective is to partner with the rural health care communities to build a sustainable practice to enhance the detection and treatment, and increase awareness of PAD. We are working closely with SCMC to shape this project to meet the specific needs of their community,” said Rebecca Brown, project coordinator of the PAD Prairie Initiative.

The PAD Prairie Initiative will have a booth at Fall Into Health to answer questions and talk with participants about the program.

“We will also have a screening station to screen individuals for PAD,” said Brown. “The screening is free and takes about 15 minutes to perform the measurement. We ask people to lay down and take their socks off.”

The noninvasive test used is called the ankle to ankles test.

“If the ankle pressure is lower, that means there is a blockage in the arteries that supply blood flow to the legs. People with PAD may experience leg pain or discomfort in the muscles of their legs while walking that goes away at rest,” said Brown. “If this sounds familiar, it is important to tell your provider as you may have PAD.”

SCMC is proud to have this new partnership with the university and they are happy to have them represented at this year’s event.

“You really don’t have to drive to the big city to get these services,” said Spaeth. “The PAD partnership has been a great outreach service for our patients and community.”

To learn more about SCMC and the services it provides, visit www.scmcinc.org.

#BenUtecht #FallIntoHealth #Morris #StevensCommunityMedicalCenter

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