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Local group working to promote a sober friendly atmosphere at Packers games

Section Yellow helping those recovering from addiction
Posted at 12:16 AM, Jan 03, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-03 01:16:14-05

GREEN BAY — At the beginning of the fourth quarter of every Packers game at Lambeau Field, the team plays the song Roll Out the Barrel.

The song has a special meaning for one support group that is the first of its kind in the NFL.

"We call the fourth quarter the section yellow quarter, and we let those balloons go that we've blown up. So you can see sobriety kind of floating around the, the stadium bowl," said Tom Doughman.

Doughman is the assistant director of counseling and psychological services at St. Norbert College and helped found Section Yellow at Lambeau Field.

It's a group that helps support fans who are sober curious, recovering from addiction, or just want to enjoy the game in a different manner.

"For those folks that are deciding not to drink, knowing that there is a place that they could go and feel comfortable somebody else supporting them and not having to fit in is really what has been most helpful," said Doughman

The group was founded in 2019 and has become increasingly popular. Doughman said he many other NFL teams have been in contact about trying to do a similar program at their stadium.

The idea came from group's co-founder a few years back.

"Bands like Phish and Grateful Dead, they actually had a support table where fans that were going to those shows that wanted to enjoy the music, but not participate in any of the drugs or alcohol," said Doughman.

Jason Latva is the director of the Jackie Nitschke center in Green Bay which has partnered with Section Yellow. He's in recovery and says he knows what it feels like to go back into packed stadiums with higher risk.

"I knew my heart was beating. I knew it was racing, and I was with my wife and friends, and I was safe, and they were all protective of my recovery too. But just a hundred percent, knowing that those other people would've been there would've calmed my mind even more," said Latva.

Latva says he believes this will continue to catch on at other big venues.

"It's not the easiest place to go to when you're in recovery. So to know you have support, connections, somebody who's going to know how you're feeling, somebody you can relate with, that's understanding," said Latva.