FITZWILLIAM — For recent Monadnock Regional High School graduate Jacob Wood, the chance to play in the 6th annual ChaD NH East-West High School All-Star Football Game Friday night has been grounding.
The game that brings together some of the best high school football players in the state raises major money for Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth Hitchcock in Lebanon.
As a freshman in high school Wood had to go to CHaD for knee surgery for a traumatic sports injury.
While he was in and out of the hospital for an out-patient surgery, whether he would recovery well enough to play sports again was not certain, he said Wednesday.
The long recover period meant he could return to playing any sports till hi junior year.
“I’ve been playing sports since I was four or five years old so not being able to play sports was really hard for me,” Wood said.
The football player has also played basketball, baseball and hockey over the years.
He returned to football his junior year of high school and wound up being recruited to play at Castleton College in Vermont.
“I’m going to major in criminal justice, sort of following in the footsteps o my dad. I want to become a Fish and Game officer that is wat I am working toward Wood said.
Wood’s father is Hancock Police Chief Andrew Wood.
Natalie Harrison, Community relations Manager for ChaD said the all-star game raises money for program at ChaD that are not funded through insurance dollars, such as it child advocacy and protection program for physically, sexually and mentally abused children as well as the Child Life Program that provides specialist to children hospitalized, who are there to provide for the patients social and developmental needs.
“Just making them feel safe and more at home, basically a better situation for them to heal,” Harrison said.
A long hospital stay is not what Wood experienced at ChaD, but part of playing in the all-star game means visiting CHaD. It was an eye-opening experience for Wood showed him what he is really playing for.
“When we toured the hospital we actually got to see the Intensive Care Unit for the kids. It’s really hard to see that type of things, but you know that’s what you’re playing for. You’re raising money to help them out so it’s a really good feeling,” he said.
Harrison said organizers are projecting to raise $250,000 by the game. Over the past five years the game has raised more than $1.3 million, she said.
The 6th ChaD NH East-West High School All-Star Football Game kicks off 7 p.m. Friday at the St. Anselm College in Manchester. Tickets are $10 for the game, with proceeds benefiting children’s services at CHaD.