MISSION

To provide medical and financial assistance to in-need former athletes from Nebraska’s 16 four-year Colleges and Universities.

WHO WE ARE

Family, friends and fans of every letter winning male or female athlete from the 16 four-year colleges and universities who face medical and financial challenges.

WHO WE SERVE

Any former letter winning athlete from the 16 four-year colleges and universities in the state of Nebraska who have a qualified medical condition and lack the financial resources to meet their own needs.

Conceived by former Nebraska Football All-American Jerry Murtaugh and patterned after the NFL Greats Foundation, Murtaugh was motivated by the tragic real-life stories of former Huskers Andra Franklin and David Humm.

Both fell victim to progressive diseases and ailments in middle age that bankrupted them financially and left them virtually helpless as both quality and even access to health care deteriorated. Franklin passed away in 2006 of Heart Disease unable to provide for himself even basic services or prescription medication. Humm’s battle with Multiple Sclerosis progressed to leave him bedridden in need of 24-hour attention. Unable to access any benefits from his time in pro football (he had yet to reach eligibility age of 65), was incapable of providing for even the most basic needs. Murtaugh organized a benefit event. Proceeds yielded lifesaving funds that reinstated necessary care and provided peace of mind until his death

Shortly thereafter, the NGF was created, IRS 501C designation was granted (2014), by-laws were drawn up, a voting Board of Directors was formed, officers elected and activities commenced.

An unsung football star from small town Alabama, Andra Franklin made an immediate impact on Husker Football in the late 1970's. 

As the starting fullback, Franklin helped the Huskers to a 29-7 record with a Big 8 Championship and three top 10 finishes. He was a 2nd round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins but whose promising pro career was cut short by devastating injuries. His health deteriorated until he passed away in 2006 unable to afford basic health care. His story is the inspiration for the Nebraska Greats Foundation.

Giovanni Froldi

At an NAIA school and coming from a foreign country (Brazil), I needed help with an injury. Me and my family couldn't afford some of the care I needed. In came the NGF and it stood behind me.

Soccer York College
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Tesla Oldfield-Davis

After I was diagnosed with ALS, the Nebraska Greats came to me and asked 'what can we do?'  There is a lot of stuff insurance doesn't cover.  The NGF bought me a special bed that gives me comfort.  Maybe a little thing to most.  But a very big thing to me.

Softball/Cross Country Peru State
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Ade Dagunduro

After exhausting all of my own funds to pay for medical care, I was between a rock and a hard place. The Nebraska Greats Foundation worked with doctors and hospitals to get me surgery I couldn't afford so I could get back on my feet. Thank you, NGF.

Basketball UNL
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Joel Brott

My MS (multiple sclerosis) was getting worse and I needed to get hydro therapy each day. The NGF put a therapy tank in my house. I use it every day. It restores the confidence in myself I'd lost. How do you really thank somebody for that?

Football Concordia University
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Larry Florence

Battling cancer requires travel for treatments. My insurance doesn't cover travel. Without the NGF, I couldn't go to the treatments. It's that simple. The NGF has saved my life.

Basketball UNL
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Josh Jones

When I got that call from the Nebraska Greats Foundation---that said they would help. Man.....it changed my life. It CHANGED MY LIFE!

All-American Basketball Creighton
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Jim Unger

After my accident, I couldn't do anything. I couldn't move. My life stopped. The Nebraska Greats stepped in, bought me a motorized wheel chair. It put me back in 'the game of life.' Now, I'm back to setting goals for myself just like when I was an athlete.

All-American Gymnastics UNL
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Tami Harris

It wasn't easy for a former All-American athlete to ask for help. Thank God I did. I was at the end. I had lost all hope. And then the Nebraska Greats Foundation gave me hope back.

All-American Gymnastics UNL
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Willie Miller

The NGF stepped in and was a lifesaver for me. It has given me a whole new life. When we need it, we need to reach out and let this foundation help.

Football UNL 1997-2000
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Brianna Perez

I had medical bills that I couldn't afford to pay...I came across the NGF and they just seemed too good to be true. I am honored to be the first female recipient and am thankful to have found this unique organization.

Softball - York College
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

David Humm

You never think you're going to be that person in the middle of a story that says you need help. What an honor and relief for me and my family to have the support of the Nebraska Greats Foundation.

All-American Football UNL
Nebraska Greats Foundation Recipient

Nebraska Greats Foundation Leadership

The NGF is led by a volunteer board of directors from which four elected officers serve as the executive committee. The executive committee oversees the contracted executive director and administrator positions. The executive director and administrator execute daily operations ranging from development activities, outreach methods, facilitate grant requests and public events. They report on a weekly basis to members of the executive committee for oversight.

Jerry Murtaugh
Jerry Murtaugh
President
“We’re gonna help so many memory makers in Nebraska before I’m gone and then after I’m gone, we’re gonna help a lot more!”
Bill Hamik
Bill Hamik
Vice President
“I have a passion for all Nebraska athletes and compassion for those who are in medical need at a tough time in their lives.”
Johnny Dorn
Johnny Dorn
Secretary
“Our sports heroes have provided us with so many great memories over the years. The Nebraska Greats Foundation allows us to give back to those who have given us so much already.”
Monte Kratzenstein
Monte Kratzenstein
Treasurer
“The Nebraska Greats Foundation has touched me personally, serving many of my former teammates. Reaching out to assist former athletes no matter what name is on the front of the jersey is a great thing.”
Garry Clark
Garry Clark
Board Member
“I am humbled for this opportunity. Being a Nebraska Collegiate Athlete changed my life. I look forward to helping provide for the needs of former student athletes like me."
Eric Crouch
Eric Crouch
Board Member
When asked by Murt (founder Jerry Murtaugh) to join the foundation it was a “no brainer” and I am happy to do whatever I can to make a difference. The College athletes of the state need help, and here we are!”
Maurtice Ivy
Maurtice Ivy
Board Member
“What we are doing matters. It impacts people in so many ways. The great fans who love the players can really be there for them in their time of great need. The NGF speaks to the very best in us.”
Rod Kestel
Rod Kestel
Board Member
“The Nebraska Greats Foundation allows me to give back. These former players have given all of us great entertainment and memories over the years. Now LET’S HELP THEM!”
Mandy Monson
Mandy Monson
Board Member
“I look forward to being a part of the support system that former varsity athletes from all of the 15 four-year Nebraska-based colleges and universities can tap into.”
Mike Peterson
Mike Peterson
Board Member
“The NGF is a fantastic organization that channels the passion Nebraskans have for their favorite teams and the life-long affection they have for the athletes who played.”
Jim Rose
Jim Rose
Executive Director - Ex Officio
"The NGF is quintessential Nebraska. We love our communities. We love sports and the athletes who make memories for us. And it’s in our DNA to help those in need, That’s the NGF to a T"
Dave Slagle
Dave Slagle
Board Member
“In this state, you may be a Bluejay or a Loper or Husker but Nebraskans pull for EVERYBODY. The NGF means nobody is left out and it’s a great way to bring us all together.”
Brett Wetton
Brett Wetton
Board Member
“The NGF changes lives. It gives hope. It gives back to those who mean so much to Nebraskans all around the world—our former collegiate athletes. In Nebraska, the cheering never stops.”
Sandy Zoroya
Sandy Zoroya
Administrator

“Being a part of the NGF is a great privilege for me. Hopefully, the NGF can be a bridge for our recipients to having better days!”

Should you have any questions about Nebraska Greats Foundation please contact Sandy at szoroya54@hotmail.com

Tom Dinsdale
Tom Dinsdale
Board Member
"I feel an obligation to the state's collegiate athletes who have fallen on hard times. They nor any Nebraskan should ever struggle alone."

 

Physician's Review Board

The following Board certified, licensed physicians donate their time and expertise to evaluate each applicant. They provide guidance for the foundation but also alternatives and options for each applicant based on their own circumstances. The physician’s board also is a valuable resource in identifying worthy candidates.

Dr. Monte Christo, MD
Dr. Monte Christo, MD
Specialty / Subspecialties: Anesthesiology/General Anesthesiology

Dr. Monte Christo is an anesthesiologist in Omaha, Nebraska and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Midwest Surgical Hospital and Nebraska Methodist Hospital. He received his medical degree from University of Nebraska College of Medicine and has been in practice between 11-20 years.

Dr. John Horgan, MD
Dr. John Horgan, MD
Specialty / Subspecialties: Urology/General Urology

Dr. John Horgan is an urologist in Omaha, Nebraska and is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the area, including Boys Town National Research Hospital and CHI Health Lakeside. He received his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Dr. Michael Peetz, MD
Dr. Michael Peetz, MD
Specialty / Subspecialties: General Surgery/General Surgery

Dr. Michael Peetz is a general surgeon in Greeley, Colorado. Originally from Omaha, he received his medical degree from University of Nebraska College of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years.

Dr. Scott Strasburger, MD
Dr. Scott Strasburger, MD
Specialty/Subspecialties: Orthopedic Surgery/General Orthopedic Surgery, Orthopedic Sports Medicine

Dr. Scott Strasburger is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine. Originally from Holdrege, NE and received his bachelor’s degree in life sciences from Nebraska. He attended the Nebraska Medical Center School of Medicine and served a surgical internship at the University of Tennessee College of Medicine in Memphis.

Dr. Rob Zatechka
Dr. Rob Zatechka
Specialty / Subspecialties: Anesthesiology/General Anesthesiology

Dr. Rob Zatechka is a board certified anesthesiologist who has been practicing at OrthoNebraska since 2010. A Lincoln native and 1994 UNL alum, he attended medical school at The University of Nebraska Medical Center, graduating in 2004. He completed his residency in 2008 with an emphasis in anesthesia for organ transplantation and regional anesthesia. Dr. Zatechka stayed on at Nebraska Medicine as an assistant professor in the Department of Anesthesiology for two years prior to taking a position at OrthoNebraska as staff anesthesiologist.

Did you know?

From 2008-2018, total premiums for family coverage increased by 55% and the workers share increased by 65% which easily outpaced wage growth.

(report by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, 2015)

One in five uninsured adults in 2017 went without needed medical care due to cost. And, the uninsured are less likely than those with insurance to receive preventive care and services for major health conditions and chronic diseases.

(report by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, 2015)

Former athletes reported twice the incidence of health issues that limited their daily activities and kept them from exercising compared to the non-athletes. They also had a considerably higher incidence of osteoarthritis, with 40% of them having been diagnosed with this condition, compared to 24% of the non-athletes.

(report by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, 2015)

Athletes disabilities reported appeared linked to injuries sustained on the playing field during college.

(report by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, 2015)

67% of the athletes said they had endured major injuries while playing college sports, and 50% had experienced some form of chronic injury.

(report by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, 2015)

While injured, 70% of the athletes said they kept practicing and playing--a recipe for future disability.

(report by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, 2015)

55% of former athletes reported having at least one medical bill they could not afford.

(report by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard School of Public Health, 2015)