Iowa Punter Donating $11,000 in NIL money to “Count the Kicks”
Tory Taylor, a punter for the Iowa Hawkeye football squad, is incredibly popular.
Whether you point to the fact that he's originally from Australia, his accent, or that he ranked third in the Big Ten and 20th nationally with a punting average of 44.1 yards, the guy is beloved in Iowa City.
Now, Hawk fans all over the state -- and down under -- have a reason to love him all the more.
In the early stages of the 2021 college football season, athletes all over the country were signing name, image, and likeness (NIL) deals with a variety of companies. Taylor decided to partner with Raygun, a clothing company based out of Iowa, to create his Punting is Winning t-shirt. The front includes an outline of his home state, while the back displays his last name and number.
Though he's not allowed to make money off NIL as a student from Australia due to visa restrictions, Taylor decided he'd take on the partnership for a larger purpose.
According to their website, Count the Kicks (CTK) is an evidence-based campaign that teaches expectant parents about the importance of tracking fetal movement in order to decrease stillbirths and help save babies in the United States.
So far, via the sale of his t-shirts, Raygun and Taylor have paired together and presented a check for more than $11,000 to the organization.
Yesterday, Taylor and Raygun owner, Mike Draper, met a four-month-old baby named Liam who was saved by CTK.
Without the knowledge of kick counts, I have no clue what could have happened and I hate to even think about it. I now have my beautiful baby boy because of this.
Alyssa Shelby, Liams' mother, told WHO13. She noticed a change in his movements during pregnancy and alerted her doctor to the important warning sign.
I’m just really grateful for everyone going out there and buying a T-shirt.
For Draper, the partnership was easy to get behind.
My wife and I have four kids, and so I’ve known of Count the Kicks for years, have loved their work, and we’ve partnered in the past on smaller fundraisers. When Tory mentioned that he’d like his NIL proceeds to go to a non-profit, the punting-plus-kicking sprang into my mind. I suggested Count the Kicks, Tory loved it, and the people who bought the shirts did the rest!
CTK's site says that Iowa's stillbirth rate decreased by 32% during the first 10 years of the Count the Kicks campaign. Their goal is to expand nationally and decrease stillbirth in all 50 states.
Emily Price, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. Executive Director had this to say to the news station:
We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Tory Taylor, Mike Draper and RAYGUN. Babies’ lives will be saved because of their effort — not just through funds but through awareness. Every expectant parent deserves to know about this important pregnancy information, and we are so grateful for their help.