Ravens running back Justin Forsett spent Wednesday in Flint, Mich., and came back with a new perspective and troubling stories.
With the help of more than two dozen other NFL players, Forsett donated $100,000 worth of water and his sanitary body wipes called the "Shower Pill," of which he co-founded years ago.
But that wasn't enough. Along with former teammate and San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Torrey Smith, Forsett went to the source of the water lead problem.
The small entourage arrived in Flint at around 8 a.m. and delivered bottled water and wipes to the elderly at Loving Hands Adult & Senior Care. They then went to nearby Southwestern Classical Academy to speak to the students and deliver more water and wipes.
Forsett heard about the long-term effects of lead poisoning in water. It can cause mental damage and Forsett heard from kids whose skin is drying and hair is falling out. He said some kids are wearing wigs.
The people of Flint now have to use bottled water for everything, from brushing their teeth to cooking. Not only is the water problem a danger to their health, but the solution (at least thus far) is a major inconvenience. Bottled water is piled around their houses and must be retrieved on a near daily basis.
"Flint was crazy, man. Unbelievable experience," Forsett said on Periscope Wednesday night. "I'm really sad about what the people have to go through there. The kids having to live out of a bottle, as one kid said."
Forsett and Smith were supposed to be joined by Forsett's friend and former Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch, but Lynch had to back out at the last second. Lynch announced his retirement from the NFL Sunday.
That left Forsett and Smith talking to kids, adults and each other about what they were learning.
"Just hearing the pain in the voices of the kids," Forsett said. "Some feel like they were intentionally being poisoned. One said, 'They're trying to kill us all.' That's really sad to hear. The government has to do a better job of coming in and helping them out and supporting that community because they're hurting and they need it."
Forsett said he didn't realize how much water he uses on a daily basis until he saw how precious clean water is in Flint.
"We just don't know how good we got it," he said. "We kind of take it for granted. It really put things in perspective.
"It's crazy. You wouldn't think about a city in America struggling with this issue with water."
Here's an inside look via Forsett's social media posts:
Out in Flint with some good men! First stop with @jforsett @unitedway pic.twitter.com/7WO1WPZObo — Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) February 10, 2016
Forsett first heard about the Flint water crisis through NFL Players Association Digital Content Manager Chuniq Inpower, who is a Flint native. The two struck up a conversation in late December, before Flint's problems had reached the mainstream media.
Inpower thought the "Shower Pill" was a natural fit to help the people there, and she pitched Forsett on the idea of helping out. As Forsett learned more about the issue, he stayed in touch with Inpower about ways that he could assist.
"He was all about it," Inpower said. "Spending the time off the field in a lot of the charitable efforts he has his hands on, it has really set a great example for everyone to find a way to make a difference from wherever you are and with whatever you have."