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New foundation aims to raise funds for area high schools

Last Modified: Saturday, July 28, 2012 1:09 AM

By Warren Arceneaux / American Press

A group of local donors and Lake Charles Memorial Hospital have formed the Foundation for Fairplay, a fund that will be used to help provide local high school sports programs with safety equipment and services.

The F3 Foundation, to be coordinated by The Foundation at Lake Charles Memorial Hospital, was announced at a luncheon last week.

In less than three weeks, more than $40,000 from more than 20 donors in seed money has been launched. The goal of the foundation is to see that all student athletes are protected against potential injury and, when injuries do occur in school athletic programs, that they receive appropriate medical care.

Local schools with needs will be able to apply for grants from the foundation to help pay for needed equipment and services.

Foundation member Dr. Brett Cascio said one of the first projects for the foundation will be helping schools administer the ImPACT test, a baseline assessment that is used to help determine when athletes are able to return to play after suffering concussions.

Equipment is another area where schools have difficulty.

“Football helmets have a 10-year lifespan, and coaches usually refurbish them after every year to save costs,” Casio said.

“Next year, LaGrange will need buy 36 helmets and may not have enough funding. The foundation could potentially be a way for schools with funding problems to buy helmets. It could be a way to get items needed for training rooms. It could be tape, could be an ice machine, anything that would help get the students back healthy. We will start at the high school level since that is where most of the injuries occur, but would like to expand to middle school eventually.”

Cascio said participation in sports could prevent some student-athletes from dropping out.

“It helps keep their self-esteem high and keeps them interested in going to school,” he said.

All high schools will be eligible to apply for grants from the foundation. Applications will require a statement of need, proposed costs, booster donation totals for the past two years and budget for that sport for the past two years.

An advisory board made up of business, industry and community members will be formed to assist in procurement of funds for the foundation. A distribution committee will review grant requests and make recommendations for allocations. Members of the distribution committee are Cascio, an orthopedic surgeon; community member John Condos; George Jordan, Foundation at LCMH board representative, Leif Pederson, Memorial Senior Vice President of Philanthropy and Charles Whitson, Memorial CFO.

Cascio said he hopes to have the application process finalized by next week. For more information on the foundation, visit http://www.lcmh.com.

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