The Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board (MPRB), along with more than 100 youth football players and coaches, thanked Minneapolis native, Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. and football helmet industry leader Riddell for their donation of 1,000 new Riddell Revolution Speed Classic Youth football helmets to the MPRB’s youth football program
The July 8 event was held at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park and featured comments from Fitzgerald, MPRB and Riddell leadership, and punt, pass and kick activities with Fitzgerald and MPRB youth football players and coaches. Additionally, Riddell showcased a sampling of the new Park Board football team helmets that were donated.
The fact that the event was held at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park was one of special importance to Fitzgerald. It was at that park where Fitzgerald played his first football game as a young boy in Minneapolis and developed his passion for the game.
"The teamwork, the camaraderie and the intense physical competition make football an exciting game to play,” said Fitzgerald. “But the longer I play at the highest level, the more I understand the importance of playing wearing proper protective equipment."
Fitzgerald was looking for ways to help the MPRB youth football program when he discovered that Park Board recreation staff was already meeting with Riddell to explore investing in new protective football equipment. Seeing an opportunity to help the same program that gave him his start more than 20 years ago, Fitzgerald collaborated with Riddell to join forces and make a more sizeable donation that ensures all of the kids participating in the program would have access to new, innovative helmet technology.
“We are so grateful to Larry and Riddell,” said Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board Superintendent Jayne Miller. “Thanks to their generous donation, 1,000 youth of all ages will be able to run onto football fields across Minneapolis and be outfitted with state-of-the-art head protection, just like the helmets used at football’s elite level.”
In 2012, nearly 900 Minneapolis youth ages 9-14 played football through the MPRB youth football program.
“We're very pleased to join Larry Fitzgerald and make this unique donation to a very deserving organization in the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board youth football program,” said Riddell President Dan Arment. “As a recognized leader in helmet technology and innovation, Riddell believes all athletes should have the opportunity to wear the best protective equipment available. We applaud Larry for approaching us to work together and give back to the community organization where he began his football career. This is just the most recent example of his thoughtful and inspiring charitable efforts, and we’re happy to be part of it.”
About Larry Fitzgerald, Jr.
Larry Fitzgerald, Jr. is a wide receiver for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League. He played college football for the University of Pittsburgh, and earned All-American honors. Fitzgerald grew up in Minneapolis, Minn., playing his first football game at Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Park. In an effort to give back to the community, Fitzgerald established the First Down Fund to help kids and their families by funding positive activities for kids during the summer and throughout the year. To learn more about Larry, visit www.larryfitzgerald11.com, like him on Facebook.com/fitzgerald or follow him on Twitter @larryfitzgerald
Founded in 1929, Riddell is a premier designer and developer of protective sports equipment and a recognized leader in helmet technology and innovation. One of Easton-Bell Sports Inc.'s most well-known brands and the Official Helmet of the NFL®, Riddell is the leading manufacturer of football helmets, shoulder pads and reconditioning services (cleaning, repairing, repainting and recertifying existing equipment). For more information, visit www.riddell.com, like the Riddell Facebook page, or follow Riddell on Twitter @RiddellSports.
About Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board
With 197 park properties totaling 6,744 acres of land and water, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board provides places and recreation opportunities for all people to gather, celebrate, contemplate, and engage in activities that promote health, well-being, community, and the environment. The Minneapolis Park System’s neighborhood parks, recreation centers and diversified programming have made the Minneapolis Park System an important component of what makes Minneapolis a great place to live, play and work. To learn more about the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, visit www.minneapolisparks.org, like the MPRB Facebook page, or follow MPRB on Twitter @mplsparkboard