the study of the kicking components within sports

Friday, September 17, 2010

Kicking 4 Celiac

What is celiac disease? The Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University defines it as follows:
Celiac disease is a an autoimmune disorder that causes damage to the small intestine, which can lead to malabsorption of nutrients. A genetic intolerance to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye and barley, triggers this destructive reaction of the immune system. Common resulting complications of celiac disease in adults include reduced bone density (osteopenia and osteoporosis), anemia, increased risk of other autoimmune disorders and malignancies, infertility and neurological problems.
Many of you are probably now asking, what does celiac have to do with kicking? For that answer, we turn to the Kicking 4 Celiac website:
On October 10, 2010, arena football kicker, Craig Pinto, will be kicking field goals for 12 straight hours, for two reasons.
First, he will be attempting to set a world record for most field goals kicked within that time frame, but Craig's main focus is to raise money and awareness for Celiac Disease - the disease that he has been living with for over 10 years now. KICKING 4 CELIAC was born out of Craig's desire to show children and adults alike, that living with Celiac Disease will not shut you down physically. "With something that has affected me, and is so close to my heart, it only makes sense to utilize things I love - kicking and football - to raise money and awareness for my other passion," says Craig. "And that is spreading the word and educating people about Celiac Disease."

On the day of the event, each field goal will be judged by official referees to meet specific record breaking criteria, and all kicks must be from 40 yards out. To add to the challenge, an equal amount of kicks must be taken from the middle of the field, as well as from both hash marks.

All proceeds will benefit the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, the only center in the United States that provides comprehensive medical care, including nutrition, for adult and pediatric patients with Celiac Disease. Checks can be made payable to Trustees of Columbia University and mailed to Kicking 4 Celiac, 117 Roslyn Road, Mineola, NY 11501
We recently spoke with Craig regarding the event, celiac, and kicking:

What challenges does Celiac present to an athlete and/or specifically to a kicker?
For any athlete, I think the main challenge when diagnosed with Celiac Disease is changing your diet to find the right nutrients to put into your body. You need to figure out alternatives to replace what you will lose eating a “normal diet” having an allergy to Gluten. For me as an athlete, I had to bring my own meals to pre-game meals, and traveling for road games was just as difficult, because most athletes, or at least the ones I played with, did not have Celiac Disease, so eating pre-game meals was never an issue for them - they never had to think twice. I had to make sure the meals that were prepared for us on the road were not cross contaminated if I had to order from wherever we were dining. No matter what though, I always had my own form of gluten-free pasta ready to go, just in case.
Have you been doing anything different to train/condition for the Oct 10th event? 
For this event, since it is more of a marathon, I have been doing a lot of cardio. I have also been kicking in hour and two hour long intervals without stopping, to get myself more mentally prepared with what I will be doing on the 10th.
Do you have a ballpark target in mind for number of field goals you'll kick in 12 hours? 
Definitely. Right now my target number is 500. The event is being monitored by a Guinness World Records judge, and if I make 500 that will set a world record. My goal is obviously to shatter that number, but right now I am on pace for a little less than 500. I will have to step up my game that day.
Looking back over your entire career, does a particular field goal come to mind as your biggest kick?
Yes, it actually just happened a few weeks ago. Through high school, college, or with the NJ Revolution in the AIFA, I had never kicked a game winner. I had the opportunity to play with a semi-pro/minor league team here in Nassau County called the Nassau Punishers. Last season in the Eastern Conference Championship game, I missed a kick with a few seconds on the clock that would have tied it up and sent us to overtime, I felt like I let my family down. We played the exact same team a few weeks ago, this season, and with 2 seconds left in overtime, I kicked the game winner. It was easily one of the most memorable kicks and best feelings of my life. My teammates carried me off the field, it was like I exorcised the demons of last season. 

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