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Titans Coaches, Players Down Pins to Raise Funds at 'Strikes to Stop Diabetes'

Posted Jun 17, 2013

Titans coach Mike Munchak's second annual "Strikes to Stop Diabetes" raised nearly $70,000 for the American Diabetes Association.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans past and present took aim at bowling pins and a widespread disease Thursday night during Titans coach Mike Munchak’s second annual “Strikes to Stop Diabetes” fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association.

Mike Munchak's second annual "Strikes to Stop Diabetes" proved to be a fun way for Titans coaches, past and current players, T-Rac and participants to have fun and raise nearly $70,000 for the American Diabetes Association. Click here for a slideshow of the event.

The event generated smiles on the faces of generations of players and raised nearly $70,000 for the ADA, which funds research to find a cure for the disease and help more than 25 million Americans with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Munchak has seen firsthand how the life-changing disease has affected his wife Marci, who has managed Type 1 diabetes for 30 years, and his mother, who has Type 2 diabetes.

“We’ve been involved in other people’s events for diabetes and other charities, so I think it makes this one a little more special because it hits home quite a bit,” Munchak said. “When you have something like this, you realize how many other people diabetes affects and their families. It really touches about every family in one way or another. People rally around great causes, and this is another great cause.”

Munchak said, although a cure hasn’t been discovered, progress has been made.

“The medicine has gotten a lot better,” Munchak said. “The equipment has gotten a lot better for the younger kids that are getting diagnosed, so there’s been a lot of improvements. Obviously there hasn’t been a cure but a lot of improvements have been made to make it a little easier to deal with.”

Munchak chose a bowling tournament because it allows players to socialize with each other and with participants more than other types of fundraisers. He and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews built their friendship by spending a significant amount of their free time when they were players at bowling alleys. The format places Titans players on different teams for three rounds of games.

Michael Griffin, above, has been one of the top bowlers on the Titans' roster for years. Rookie Khalid Wooten emerged as a player who can hold his own with Griffin. Click here for photos.

“It gives fans and people that are part of this event a chance to see another side of the players that they don’t get to see, where they can spend three, four hours with guys and see we’re all the same,” Munchak said. “We’re all in this together. We all believe in our community and look forward to making a difference in it.”

Titans quarterback Jake Locker and former Titans/Oilers receiver Derrick Mason said they were happy to help the cause and enjoyed participating in the event.

“I’m excited about having the opportunity to come out here and spend some time with fans, supporters of our team and also support Coach and what he’s doing through the foundation and stopping diabetes,” Locker said.

Mason said supporting the cause was “first and foremost” and added he enjoyed the reunion with former teammates and current coaches and players.

“It’s fun because you get to be around guys you haven’t seen in a while, and you get to interact with the head coach and what he stands for and his foundation stands for,” Mason said.

Participants did their best, meanwhile, to make the pins fall down. Some went with power; others tried finesse. Some knew a strike the moment they released the ball, and others held out hope trying to coax the ball by using body English.

Locker predicted his success would hinge on “what kind of pins they use” at Hillwood Strike & Spare.

“I don’t spin it. I go for pin action, so if the pins are bouncing around it could be a good day for me,” Locker said. “If not, probably not a real high score.”

Munchak said he enjoys seeing the players compete with each other in non-football activities.

“They take it very seriously,” Munchak said. “They may not want to admit that, especially at a charity event, but there’s still competition going on.”

Safety Michael Griffin is a longstanding top bowler on the roster, and rookie defensive back Khalid Wooten, who has enjoyed bowling so much he listed it in his bio at the University of Nevada, was one of the top newcomers.

The event was sponsored by LP Building Products, Pinnacle Financial Partners, Diabetes Care Club, Hillwood Strike & Spare, DET Distributing Company, Nike, 104.5 The Zone and the Tennessee Titans.

About the American Diabetes Association – Tennessee

Diabetes is the leading health problem in the state of Tennessee according to the Tennessee Department of Health.  The mission of the American Diabetes Association is to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of ALL people affected by diabetes.  We work to accomplish this mission through education, advocacy, and research.  Over the years, the ADA has invested more than half a billion dollars and provided funding for nearly 4,000 research projects, with a continuing emphasis on training new investigators and pursuing novel strategies for curing, treating, and preventing both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes.

The American Diabetes Association is currently funding nine researchers across Tennessee for a total of $2,577,839. Locally funded programs include:

• Camp Sugar Falls is the only day camp for diabetic children in Tennessee and is a program of the American Diabetes Association and is held annually at the YMCA’s Camp Widjiwagan.

• Diabetes NOW! is an annual educational symposium free to the community featuring speakers, cooking demonstrations, diabetes related products and programs, and health screenings.

Our Advocacy program provides a voice to those denied their rights because of diabetes.

Our Safe at School program educates families and school staff about appropriate care and treatment of children with diabetes and works to ensure that a diabetic child’s needs will be safely met in the school setting, free from discrimination.

• Educational materials are provided at no charge upon request and through more than 250 health fairs statewide.

The African American Program works to educate the African American population about their increased risk of diabetes through a church related educational series called Project Power. More than 500 churches throughout Tennessee and North Mississippi participate each year.

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