Aaron Rodgers donates 375 helmets to California high schools impacted by fires

Ryan Young
Yahoo Sports Contributor

While he’s been focused on the Green Bay Packers’ season opener this week against the Chicago Bears, Aaron Rodgers still made time to send a special gift back to his hometown.

Rodgers donated 375 new football helmets to three Northern California high schools on Wednesday, including in his hometown and the neighboring Paradise, California — which was devastated by a wildfire last year.

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“For me, this is a chance to step up and support the community where I was born and raised,” Rodgers said, via the Sacramento Bee. “I chose to invest in VICIS because of their ultimate commitment to player protection. These kids deserve the best, and I’m happy to play a small role in outfitting them with the safest helmets.”

Rogers sent the nearly 400 helmets to Chico High School, Paradise High School and his alma mater Pleasant Valley High School through his foundation. The three schools sit roughly 90 miles north of Sacramento.

The helmets Rogers donated, new VICIS ZERO1 models, are constantly ranked among the safest in the NFL. According to longtime Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin, the company’s new helmets reduce impact forces on the head by 30 to 40 percent compared to older models.

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The Camp Fire last November was the deadliest in California history. The fire killed 85 people and destroyed nearly 19,000 homes and businesses — and nearly destroyed all of Butte County, according to the New York Times. The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, per the report, determined earlier this year that the fire was caused by “electrical transmission lines owned and operated” by Pacific Gas & Electric.

“I don’t know if anybody outside of Paradise and Butte County can truly understand what football means to helping us to feel normal again,” Paradise coach Rick Prinz said, via the Sacramento 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.”

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