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Rolf Benirschke was the place-kicker for the San Diego Chargers from 1977 -1987, and set 16 team records before retiring as the third most accurate kicker in NFL history. He received numerous honors including the NFL Man of the Year; the Comeback Player of the Year; the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association Most Courageous Athlete; the NFL Players Association Hero of the Year; the NFL Justice Byron Whizzer White Award; and was selected to play in the Pro Bowl. He became the twentieth player to be inducted into the San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame in 1997, and in 1999 was inducted into the San Diego Hall of Champions. In 2004 he was inducted into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
During his second season, Mr. Benirschke was struck with ulcerative colitis, an intestinal illness that required major surgery the following season, and nearly cost him his life. His life was dramatized in the pilot show of the The New This is Your Life by Ralph Edwards Productions, and was featured on Good Morning, America, The Today Show, Instant Recall, and The Sally Jesse Raphael Show.
Rolf Benirschke has written two books--Alive & Kicking, his autobiography centered on his battle with ulcerative colitis, and Great Comebacks from Ostomy Surgery, a book featuring inspirational stories of people who have survived and thrived following ostomy surgery.
Mr. Benirschke is the national spokesman for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America, and is involved in many other philanthropic organizations including Scripps Hospital, the San Diego Zoo, United Way, and Santa Fe Christian School.
During his playing days, Rolf Benirschke created Kicks for Critters, a program developed to help, the Center for Endangered Species (CRES), at the San Diego Zoo and helped raise over $1.5 million. He also established Cans for Critters, an environment and wildlife education program ongoing in over 100 schools in San Diego. He has also been involved for over 25 years with the San Diego Blood Bank and the annual Charger Blood Drive. He created and runs the Rolf Benirschke Legacy Invitational Golf Tournament that annually benefits the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America and one additional local non-profit organization that is rotated each year.
Mr. Benirschke speaks for the National Center for Disease Control, the American Liver Foundation, and many other foundations to "get the word out" and encourage patients faced with the challenge of hepatitis C virus. He recently learned that his body is clear of the virus that he contracted from one of his many blood transfusions.
Rolf Benirschke recently helped start Enterprise Media Networks (EMN8), a technology company headquartered in San Diego, California. He was co-founder and partner of the Eastman Benirschke Financial Group for over ten years and served as Chairman of the Billy Graham Mission held at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California May 2003. Under the umbrella of Rolf Benirschke Enterprises he is a much sought after motivational speaker, represents California Bank & Trust, ConvaTec, a Bristol-Myers Company, and works for DMB, a Scottsdale Development company that develops legacy golf course communities.
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