Kansas City Chiefs TE Leonard Pope was honored in a private ceremony for saving 6-year-old Bryson Ross from drowning at a birthday party. Bryson’s mother Anne gave a speech and presented Pope with a plaque for his heroics. Pope says he will use his CHAMP foundation to make sure more kids know how to swim.
“I want to try to incorporate swimming lessons, and hopefully in the future, I can even sponsor a couple of the kids to be able to have swimming lessons and just to be able to get the message out that way.”
Anne also felt proud this story made her son a beacon of potential change for the better.
“His classmates call and see us in stores, and then people just in general see us and say, ‘Is Bryson going to learn swimming lessons now?’” Anne said. “It had other people just thinking about it, too, so that was gratifying.”
Considering how long we usually harp on the negative things players do, it’s great to see this story have legs. Pope deserves much more attention for saving a life than what some guys get for being arrested.
Adding swimming lessons to what the CHAMP foundation already does is a great idea, one that hopefully more community organizations pick up on. We shouldn’t forget that Pope was the only person at the party that knew how to swim, which is just unfathomable to me. The more organizations that start pushing swimming lessons now, the less likely such a situation will present itself again.