Posted By: Christian Marin
Charles Woodson of the Green Bay Packers; and former Oakland Raider and University of Michigan Wolverine, is known in the football world for many things. What a lot of people don’t know about the Pro Bowl cornerback is how interactive he is with his old communities that provided him with the stepping stones to make his NFL dream become reality.
Selected 4th overall by the Oakland Raiders in the 1998 NFL Draft, Charles Woodson understands how lucky he is to be living the dream of playing in the NFL. He left school early so he can pursue his dreams of playing in the NFL and the hard work and dedication paid off. Now, Woodson is the founder of his own foundation; the Charles Woodson Foundation, has established two different scholarships and is a regular volunteer at the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital. He recently donated $2 million to the hospital which will help support The Charles Woodson Clinical Research Fund which will advance the work of researchers doing early-stage work to help children with life-threatening illnesses such as autism, cancer, kidney disorders and heart disease. The money will also help with the construction for the new building where they will name the lobby in his honour. If naming the lobby wasn’t enough to show appreciation towards Woodson, they proclaimed Thursday, April 28, 2011 as ‘Charles Woodson Day’ at the U-M C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and Women’s Hospital.
Woodson accepted the Mott Champions for Children Award, gave out Mott bears that were dressed in Woodson T-shirts to all the patients and will have the patient room doors decorated with Charles Woodson Fatheads. He also gave them the opportunity to enjoy a game-day lunch that included stadium hot dogs, popcorn, cotton candy and pretzels. Charles Woodson Day technically got started the night before as Woodson and former Mott patient, 16-year old Max Merget, threw out the first pitch together at the Detroit Tigers game last Wednesday.
Aside from his work with the hospitals, Woodson has established two scholarships at the University of Michigan. The Charles C. Woodson Scholarship is awarded to an incoming Kinesiology freshman who has financial need and shows outstanding promise in the field. The fund will give preference to entering Kinesiology undergraduates from the communities of Fremont, Ohio, his hometown, as well as Detroit/Ann Arbor, Oakland, California and Green Bay, Wisconsin; all communities which Woodson has played football in.
His other scholarship, the Georgia A. Woodson Scholarship, was established in honour of his mother Dr. Georgia Woodson. This financial aid scholarship is open to any student at the University who comes from a single parent home in the preferred geographic locations identified by the Woodson family.
“Part of the reason I am doing this scholarship is because I had a scholarship to one of the greatest universities and I didn’t take full advantage of that opportunity at the University and in Kinesiology,” Woodson states on the Charles Woodson Foundation’s website. He decided to fund an academic scholarship over an athletic scholarship because he says athletes are given scholarships that other students don’t get the opportunity to pursue.
Charles Woodson was the first and still is the only primarily defensive player to win the Heisman trophy when he did it back in 1997; beating out University of Tennessee and current Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. In the same season he helped guide the University of Michigan to an undefeated season and a share of the national championship. He won many awards at the college level and had a lot of recognition for his defensive play on the field. Aside from playing the safety position in college, Woodson found himself returning punts and playing the occasional wide receiver role. He was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year by the Associated Press and would later be named to four consecutive AFC Pro Bowl teams, multiple All-Pro teams and represented the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XXXVII. Although the Raiders fell short, Woodson won his first Super Bowl this past season with the Packers even though a broken collarbone forced him out of the game early. He sits third on the all-time list for most interceptions returned for touchdowns (10) and sits just two touchdowns back of leader Rod Woodson (12). He’s recorded 47 interceptions for 833 yards and 10 touchdowns through 12 seasons.
He is a leader both on and off the field and is looked upon by many young players as the influence they would like to become for the next generation of upcoming players. He is showing kids everywhere that education is the most important thing in life because it will help take you to that next step in life that will help better the world.
To learn more about the Charles Woodson Foundation, visit http://charleswoodsonfoundation.org/
To learn more about The Charles Woodson Clinical Research Fund, visit http://www.med.umich.edu/mott/woodsonfund/index.htm