"We were excited just to have our hometown hero pay us a visit. We never could have imagined so much good would come from it," Wright Middle School head coach Brad Weeks.
Nashville, TN (PRWEB) May 04, 2011
They say it is important to always remember your roots and the football players at Wright Middle School in Nashville, Tenn., are happy that Miami Dolphins linebacker Tim Dobbins remembered his.
Dobbins, in partnership with Our Future Stars and USA Football, is donating 32 new helmets and shoulder pads to his former school to ensure that the team can play – and play safely – this fall.
On a recent visit back to Wright Middle School, Dobbins noticed some things strangely familiar at his former school. Some of the shoulder pads that he wore more than a decade ago playing for Wright were still being used by Raiders players today.
"We just don't feel safe using all of what we have," said Wright Middle School head coach Brad Weeks. "With all of the information out there about player safety and concussions, I can't let the boys practice safely in some of our pads any longer.
"We lost a couple of players last year who really wanted to play but were concerned about their safety," added Weeks. "It is heartbreaking to lose kids who want to participate because of poor equipment."
Dobbins and his agent, David Canter, decided to do something to help his old school. In partnership with Our Future Stars and USA Football, Dobbins is donating new Riddell helmets and shoulder pads to the school. In addition, Wright Middle School football coaches will receive USA Football’s coaching resources, including a video drills library and access to innovative online coaching education courses that include chapters on concussion management and player safety.
“I have been blessed to be able to become a professional football player and I know as a former player of Wright Middle School how important player safety is. So when I saw the condition of the equipment that these young men were being told they had to use I knew I had to do something," said Dobbins. "I called my agent David Canter and together we put together a plan along with USA Football and Our Future Stars to give them proper protective equipment. We have been able to donate new helmets, shoulder pads and mouth guards. It is my hope that these players’ families can feel confident that these young men are safe while learning and playing the great sport that I love – football.”
“Tim Dobbins is to be commended for his heartfelt donation to benefit kids whose shoes he stood in 15 years ago,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the Titans, the NFL and each of the league’s other 31 teams. “USA Football is inspired to help all kids – like those at Wright Middle School – enjoy the excitement, healthy play and team-first values that America’s favorite sport provides.”
"There are so many programs and kids affected by the estimated $20 billion in cuts to public school athletic budgets that stories like Wright's are becoming far too common and we're working hard to develop longer term solutions," said Rob Katz, executive director of Our Future Stars. "We are proud to help Tim, USA Football, Coach Weeks and the staff at Wright to help make sure that the Raiders are able to play this season."
"Many people have talked about trying to help over the years but Tim is the first person to take the issue seriously enough to actually follow through," said Weeks. "We were excited just to have our hometown hero pay us a visit. We never could have imagined so much good would come from it."
About USA Football
USA Football, the sport's national governing body in the United States, hosts more than 80 football training events annually offering education for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league commissioners. The independent non-profit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams. USA Football manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions and provides more than $1 million annually in equipment grants and youth league volunteer background check subsidies. Endowed by the NFL and NFL Players Association in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football (http://www.usafootball.com) is chaired by former NFL team executive Carl Peterson.
About Our Future Stars
Across the county a stressed economy has forced school districts to dramatically cut budgets, leading to the elimination of employee positions, cuts in extracurricular programs and reductions in much needed teacher and student support. However, the work isn’t going away, so staff end up doing double and triple duty; and the risk increases that more of our country’s students will fall through the cracks of an overburdened system. With schools reporting even less dollars to operate this year, the cuts will be more visible than they were last year. Our Future Stars, a member of The Champions Fund (EIN#59-3685490), provides grants to school boards, individual schools and qualified youth sports organizations and programs to promote youth participation in sports. Our Future Stars was featured on CBS Sports, Turner Sports and in Sports Illustrated recently as part of the Buick Human Highlight Reel during the Men's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. http://www.ourfuturestars.org.
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For Wright Middle School: