Gridiron Heroes – Offering Seeds of Hope to Fallen Athletes

In 2001, Chris Canales was a star athlete on his high school football team. On November 2, 2001, he was having an incredible game, playing in top form. However, with one tragic hit, that all changed in an instant. That hit paralyzed Chris, ending his football career and altering his life forever.

After his paralysis, Chris and his family felt very sad and helpless. To try to encourage him, Chris’ dad took him to a high school football game. Incredibly, at that game, another player became paralyzed in much the same way Chris had. As horrible as this tragedy was, it also sparked something in Chris……….he knew what the player was going through and that he could help. Thus the idea for Gridiron Heroes was born. Today, Gridiron Heroes is an organization that provides support, both emotional and financial, to athletes who have sustained spinal cord injuries, giving them a glimmer of hope as they pick up the pieces of their lives.

This video tells all about Gridiron Heroes and the wonderful work it is doing.

Additional Resources:

  • Here’s an article that gives more information about Gridiron Heroes!
  • Here’s another article in which Eddie Canales talks about the amazing work he and his son do with Gridiron Heroes!

Topics for Discussion:

  • How do you think Chris and others must have felt when they sustained their injuries so suddenly?
  • Why do you think Chris and the other players still want to “talk football” and go to games, even though football caused their injuries?

Take Action:

  • Do you know anyone who is paralyzed or has another major injury? What can you do to help support them?
  • Visit the Gridiron Heroes website to learn more about this amazing organization and how you can get involved!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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