How to Refer an Athlete to the NGF

Have you been wondering how to refer an athlete who needs help to the Nebraska Greats Foundation? Today, we will give you all the information you need to help a friends who might be struggling and why it is a good idea. 

As fans, we witness the thrills and victories of college athletes representing their schools with pride, but we don’t see the other side of the story. 

In the realm of college sports, injuries are almost inevitable. From torn ligaments and broken bones to persistent chronic pain, the path to recovery can often come with a hefty price tag.

What Is the Reach of the NGF?

While in school, health care is often provided, but when they leave the arena of competition, that support system disappears. That’s where our nonprofit organization steps in.

Health issues can be overwhelmingly intimidating for athletes lacking the financial means to afford medical treatment, particularly for those juggling full-time studies. 

If you are acquainted with an athlete or former athlete facing this predicament, and you’re searching for a way to assist, let us help!

Nebraska Greats Foundation refer a friend

Is My Friend Eligible for a Grant?

The NGF only covers qualified medical expenses such as insurance deductibles, pre and post-operative care, travel to and from treatments, prescriptions, rehab, and facilities directly related to the medical condition.

Any former letter winner from any of the four Nebraska-based colleges or universities (including the former Dana College) with a medical and financial need is eligible to apply.

Recipients do not need a former degree from these universities. 

We assist with most medical health issues; however, currently, the NGF does not assist those with substance abuse issues.

Why Should I Refer My Friends Instead of Letting Them Do It?

Why should you take the initiative to refer your friends instead of letting them seek help independently? We must understand athletes’ challenges when struggling with health issues and how hard it can be to ask for help. 

Pride is a significant factor preventing many athletes from reaching out for assistance. Sometimes, a competitive nature can make admitting the need for help difficult. 

Athletes are used to pushing through pain and discomfort, and this mindset can deter them from seeking the medical care they require. 

Nebraska Greats Foundation refer a friend (2)


By referring them to the NGF, you’re providing an avenue for them to receive aid without feeling like they have compromised their resilience or strength.

Furthermore, many athletes aren’t aware of the resources available to them. Your referral could open their eyes to a resource they didn’t know existed, potentially making a significant difference in their recovery journey.

The stigma associated with injury or illness can also discourage athletes from asking for help. In the sports world, injuries can sometimes be perceived as a sign of weakness or an inability to perform. 

This fear of judgment might keep athletes silent about their struggles. By stepping in and making a referral, you can help them overcome this barrier and get the support they need.

Can I Refer Someone Who Didn’t Get Injured in Their Playing Days?

One common misconception is that NGF assistance is exclusively for athletes with injuries directly linked to their sports careers. However, we want to clarify that this is not the case. 

The NGF is steadfast in its commitment to supporting individuals who have contributed significantly to the Nebraska sports community, irrespective of when or how their medical needs arose.

In addition, the injuries do not need to stem directly from their playing days. We have helped many people whose medical needs began decades after their playing days ended.

Our team will contact the athlete directly and work with them to find a solution that works for their health and budget.

Age is Just a Number

We believe that time does not diminish the value of their contributions or the dedication they showed during their playing days. 

Whether an injury or illness occurred on the field or decades later, our mission remains the same – to provide support and solutions tailored to each athlete’s unique circumstances.

Every athlete who has enriched the Nebraska sports community deserves a fighting chance, even if they aren’t playing anymore. 

The passion, effort, and time they dedicated to their sport have left an indelible mark. It’s only fitting that we, as a community, stand by them in their hour of need, recognizing the enduring value of their contributions.

We recognized the time they contributed to this valuable space for many. 

A Support System

Referring a friend to the Nebraska Greats Foundation (NGF) is about far more than just securing medical aid. It’s about introducing them to a community of individuals who have walked in their shoes and have similar experiences. 

This connection with others who have faced similar health struggles can be a powerful source of emotional support and encouragement. 

The journey to recovery is often fraught with challenges, and knowing that they are not alone can provide immense comfort. 

Moreover, the shared experiences within this community can offer invaluable insights, advice, and coping strategies that can help your friend navigate their own path to recovery. 

In essence, by referring a friend to the NGF, you’re not only helping them access necessary medical assistance but also enveloping them in a support system that understands their unique struggles and stands ready to help them overcome them.

By referring someone, you’re not just connecting them with financial aid; you’re acknowledging their contribution and ensuring they’re not alone in their journey toward recovery and wellness.

Nebraska Greats Foundation's Executive Director Jim Rose Set to Leave (2)

The Revision Process

We understand the struggles that collegiate athletes face, and every application we receive is more than just a form to us – it’s a story. Each story is met with compassion, understanding, and a rigorous commitment to finding the best ways to offer support. 

We don’t just skim through applications; we delve deep into each one, studying the unique circumstances and needs of every athlete who reaches out to us. 

Our aim? To ensure that no athlete feels left behind. We stand with them, shoulder to shoulder, in their time of need, offering a helping hand and a listening ear.

At Nebraska Greats Foundation, we believe in the power of empathy, the strength of community, and, most importantly, the unyielding spirit of our athletes. 

Our Stories

Of course, we know that referring a friend or loved one can be hard, especially when you are trying to find a safe and professional space where they feel valued and not put them under more stress than necessary. 

At the Nebraska Greats Foundation, we have helped over 40 recipients and take all factors into consideration; we let our recipients provide proof of our work. 

Anthony Branch

In 1977, high school football player Anthony Branch found a home in Lincoln, Nebraska, not by scholarship or heavy recruiting but through the school’s developing walk-on program.

Forty-two years after finding his family on the football field at Memorial Stadium, Anthony Branch received help from the NGF.

Anthony Branch needs a living-donor kidney transplant immediately. Thanks to the NGF, this was made possible.

vasity games

Carlos Ortega

The NGF has also provided a grant to Carlos Ortega, a sophomore Midfielder from York College.  Carlos is originally from Margarita Island, Venezuela.

Carlos applied for a grant to assist him with medical bills stemming from an injury he suffered while competing.  The NGF provided funds to a provider for services not covered by insurance.

Tim Wurth

Tim Wurth started at Burke High School in Omaha in the mid-70s before a productive career at Nebraska.

Tim has been struggling with a variety of health issues, including Neuropathy and Type II Diabetes.

Before applying for a grant from the NGF, Tim faced emergency Cataract surgery but was unable to access health care. 

Because he needed the surgery now, the application was expedited. His situation was vetted thoroughly, and his grant was approved in less than one week. He is now scheduled for Cataract surgery and hopes to be back working full-time soon.

I Referred a Friend, What Is the Next Step?

Once the referral has been sent, the next step will be just waiting for an answer; our staff will carefully review the application before getting in contact. 

For any further questions, contact Sandy Zoroya, Administrative Director, at or 702-321-9136.

Doane University