September 27, 2018. During what was an emotion filled evening, former Steelers Hall of Famer Jerome Bettis and his foundation, Caring for Kids, honored two of Pittsburgh greats for their accomplishments to the community. Dr Joseph Maroon was awarded the Humanitarian of the Year Award. Pittsburgh Steeler, Ryan Shazier, was also honored with the Most Courageous Man of the Year award for his inspiration to others following his spinal cord injury he suffered while playing football.
The Jerome Bettis The Bus Stops Here Foundation was founded in 1997. Its mission is to provide underprivileged, inner city kids with opportunities that will enable them to be successful and contributing citizens to society. It provides schooling in computer sciences, clothing, toys and even bowling lessons which Jerome begrudgingly acknowledges was his first choice over football! It also provides help for asthmatic children through its Life Without Limits Program.
A video was presented featuring Roger Goodell, Commissioner of the NFL, acknowledging Dr. Maroon and Ryan Shazier for their work and contributions. Dr. Maroon was the first neurosurgeon to be appointed to an NFL team by Mr. Dan Rooney, President of the Steelers in 1982. He has served in that role to the present time providing advice and, at times, surgery to the Steelers as well as many other professional athletes. He has served on the NFL Head, Neck and Spine Committee for 12 years and has written and published extensively on managing concussions and head and spine injuries in athletics from youth football to the pros. He continues as the neurosurgical consultant to the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Dr. Maroon acknowledged the high honor of the award and praised Jerome Bettis for his work in giving back to the underprivileged and Ryan who through his courage is exemplary to all in overcoming adversity. Prior year awardees include Ben Roethlisberger; Ed Stack, President of Dick’s Sporting Goods and James Conner, Pittsburgh Steelers.