GMYA helmet fund drive seeks to protect players


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor

Debbie Miller and the Groveport Madison Youth Association football program want to make sure every player this season has a new football helmet.

Miller and her husband, Bob, started the GMYA several years ago after a previous youth athletic organization disbanded.

“This is my 37th year, working with the children and I am a trustee of GMYA,” said Miller. “We only do football and cheer so we can dedicate our complete attention to these sports.”

GMYA games are played at Miller Field at Brobst Park on Winchester Pike. According to Miller, the GMYA has eight football teams and seven cheer squads for ages 5 to 13. The children come from Madison Township, Groveport, Canal Winchester and the surrounding Columbus area.

Keeping equipment for the program up to date is an ongoing task. Miller said 10 to 20 new helmets are purchased each year in an effort to keep the equipment current. She said the oldest helmets in use may be five years old.

“In the last few years helmets have been made to provide more cushioning to protect the brain in the hopes to cut down on concussions,” said Miller. “So I have been haunted with the idea of only a handful of players getting the new helmets and wanted to have new helmets for all our players. I wanted to do this without raising fees to our parents. I racked my brain thinking of how I could do this and quite frankly, my board members thought I was crazy!”

Miller said one day she got the idea of asking everyone she knows for $1 to purchase 100 safer, concussion preventive helmets for all the players.

“I posted my mission and how important it was to me to make my players as safe as  possible on my Facebook page and asked everyone for $1. Why not? Everyone has $1  in change,” said Miller. “I set my goal at 100 helmets. I worked with our sales rep to get the best price of $71.99 per helmet, which meant raising $7,200.”

Miller said the response “has been amazing” as past parents, past players, friends, co-workers, relatives and current GMYA parents have responded.

“I’ve received donations from Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio and from friends and family,” said Miller. “We have raised enough money for 68 helmets so far and we’re working on the remainder. With that said, I now have 108 players so I have to raise my goal a little higher, but you know the saying, ‘If God brings you to it, he will take you through it.’ I believe that.”

Donations to the helmet drive can be made to the GMYA Paypal account at or at the practice field located at Sedalia Elementary School, 5400 Sedalia Drive, Columbus, OH 43232.

“We are there Monday through Thursday from 6-8 p.m.,” said Miller.

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  1. Being a member of GMYA as well as a patent I believe this is an incredible ideas. I myself is also helping to raise the money and it is so amazing to see people from all over willing to help the players have safer equipment. Once Debbie sets her mind on a mission she tries and tries to make that mission complete and she never gives up. Debbie is an amazing person and loves this kids as if they are all her own. It’s amazing what she does for these cheerleaders and football players.


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