(Bethlehem, PA) - Football is one of the toughest sports on the planet. Over the past few years, there has been much debate about the long-term effects of head injuries from playing football. Just recently, a major motion picture Concussion which starred Oscar nominee Will Smith brought football head injuries to the mainstream. Former Pittsburgh Steelers great and Super Bowl XL champion Antwaan Randle El is the most recent former NFL player to speak candidly about the impact that head injuries continue to have on his life. To combat this, equipment manufacturers and doctors have made great strides in developing new ways to keep players safe. Bethlehem Catholic High School, one of the premiere football programs in Pennsylvania history, is making player welfare its number one priority.
Bethlehem Catholic is the recent recipient of another generous donation from long-time supporters Ron and Lisa Check. Ron Check, President of Grace Industries, Inc., made a $26,000 donation to purchase 66 brand new Riddell InSite Helmets. These new state-of-the-art helmets feature Riddell’s Impact Response System, a helmet-based monitoring technology designed to alert when significant single or multiple impacts are sustained during a football game or practice. The paper-thin sensor in the helmet sends an alert to the athletic trainer’s device on the sideline if significant impact occurs, helping the training staff be more proactive in detecting concussion symptoms early. The Riddell InSite Helmet has received a coveted 5-Star rating from the renowned Virginia Tech Helmet Testing Facility.
“Ron & Lisa Check have been tremendous supporters of Becahi and the football program for years,” said Becahi head football coach Joseph Henrich. “This is a great example of not just their love for Bethlehem Catholic but more importantly their compassion for our students and their welfare. We are blessed to have their support and thankful for their generosity.”
Henrich also elaborated on the importance of safety for his players. “We [Bethlehem Catholic] are a first-class program,” Henrich stated. “But it’s not just about winning football games, it’s about caring for our kids. Thanks to the Checks, these new helmets are helping us do just that.”
Even more good came out of The Checks’ generous gift than was expected. Thanks to the future arrival of the new Riddell helmets, Bethlehem Catholic was able to donate 24 of their current reconditioned helmets to Nativity B.V.M., a fellow Catholic high school in Pottsville, PA who’s football team was in need of some more gear. This whole process comes down to people simply doing God’s will and taking care of each other.
The Bethlehem Catholic Golden Hawks won back to back District XI AAA titles in 2013 and 2014. After another impressive season in 2015, Becahi lost a close District title game to an undefeated Saucon Valley team that would go on to finish second in the state playoffs. Now, the Golden Hawks are back in the weightroom and poised for redemption in 2016 with the help of Ron, Lisa, and Riddell.
This article appeared in the Sports Section of The A.D. Times (Vol. 28, No. 3)