Aaron Rodgers will strap on a helmet to kick off the 2019 NFL season on Thursday night, but first he made sure at least 375 high schoolers from his home state will get to strap on their own new helmets this season.
As reported by The Sacramento Bee, the Green Bay Packers quarterback just recently gifted brand new VICIS ZERO1 helmets, the top-rated model by the NFL and NFL Players Association for three straight years, to the football programs at Chico, Paradise, and Pleasant Valley high schools.
Rodgers grew up in Chico and attended Pleasant Valley, and his donation -- through the Aaron Rodgers Foundation -- was meant to support the communities affected by the Camp Fire, the 2018 wildfire that registered as the deadliest and most destructive in California history.
"I don't know if anybody outside of Paradise and Butte County can truly understand what football means to help us to feel normal again," Paradise coach Rick Prinz told The Bee. "We're grateful for Aaron's donation. I've been the head coach now for eight years and not one time have I ever had to ask Aaron for anything. He calls or texts every year and says, 'Coach, here is what I would like to do. Is this OK?' He does so much for our school and community that most people have no idea."
According to ProFootballTalk's Michael David Smith, the 375 donated helmets are enough to outfit the entire football programs at all three high schools. And since their retail price runs about $950 each, they wouldn't usually be in the budget.