COPPERAS COVE, TEXAS (October 22, 2015) With the upcoming Heart of Texas Bowl on December 5 at Bulldawg Stadium, the Heart of Texas Bowl Committee has decided to make Gridiron Heroes one of the charities to be benefitted from the bowl game.
“We’re excited about that, we’re very excited about being a part of the bowl game,” Gridiron Heroes founder Eddie Canales said. “We’re hoping we can create an atmosphere where people understand that there are other things that can be done to help these kids that have been injured. We’re appreciative of the fact that the bowl committee has accepted the idea that this is a worthy cause.”
Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation was formed in 2003 with a specific mission: To provide immediate, as well as, long term resources and support to individuals sustaining catastrophic spinal cord injury through activities associated with high school football.
“The Heart of Texas Bowl is so excited to partner with an organization such as Gridiron Heroes,” Heart of Texas Bowl Senior Director Of Marketing And Strategic Partnerships Ronald Oswalt said. “Gridiron Heroes has done such amazing work for families across the country and right here in the Lone Star State. It is our hope that this partnership will bring more awareness to spinal cord injuries in football and shine a light on Gridiron Heroes as an organization.”
On November 2, 2001, Chris Canales, a senior defensive back playing for San Marcos Baptist Academy, sustained a spinal cord injury during the fourth quarter of his final regular season game. Chris lay motionless on the field for 19 minutes. The next three weeks, Chris fought for his life. The following months he battled through rehabilitation trying to gain movement and learning how to function as a quadriplegic. Chris’ injury and the lack of any organized support system for families prompted his father, Eddie Canales, the Canales family, and former coach Mike Kipp to begin discussions about the desperate need for an organization for families who were forced to deal with the consequences of this devastating injury.
In November of 2002, Chris and Eddie were in attendance at the Texas 3A State Championship football game in the Alamodome, in San Antonio. There they witnessed another spinal cord injury. This time it was Everman defensive back, Corey Fulbright. Chris turned to his Dad and said, “We need to go and help them. I know what he (Corey) is going to go through, and you know what the family will have to go through.” Inspired by the compassion of Chris, Eddie and Mike Kipp formed Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation. Articles of Incorporation were filed in February of 2003, and a 501(C) 3 Tax exempt status was obtained in May of the same year. Through a grant written by Eddie & his dad, Coach Robert M. Canales, funds received helped kick-off its first year.
Receiving calls from other states has shown a need for the work that is being done. Gridiron Heroes has taken step towards helping others nationwide. There have been others who suffered this similar injury in the past. Unfortunately and inevitably there will be more. Rest assured that Gridiron Heroes will be there for the next family who finds themselves in this life-changing situation.
“I’m hoping it becomes a catalyst for other bowls,” Canales said. “To find out and to have other bowls to step up and create a Gridiron Heroes weekend. Something where we can designate a time frame for raising money for those that have been injured playing football.”