Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 28 October 2011 00:00
Craig Pinto could edge former New York Yankee great Reggie Jackson for the title of “Mr. October,” in philanthropic terms anyway.
The Mineola resident kicked 1,000 field goals in 24 hours on Oct. 9 at Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay. Pinto inadvertently christened the football field, being that it hasn’t been officially opened yet.
He previously kicked 717 forty-yard field goals in 12 hours in October 2010 at Bethpage High School. The previous record was 500, which was an arbitrary number set by the Guinness Book of World Records because no one had ever attempted it before.
Guinness recognized his previous achievement, which will be documented in the 2012 Book of World Records. He received a certificate two weeks after the accomplishment.
Pinto is awaiting the official recognition from Guinness on his new record of 1,000 field goals. Craig’s focus was to raise money and awareness for celiac disease and his foundation, Kicking4Celiac.
Pinto raised $5,000 last October. All proceeds benefited the Celiac Disease Center at Columbia University, the only center in the United States that provides comprehensive medical care, including nutrition, for adult and pediatric patients with celiac disease. Craig previously stated that he wanted to double the $5,000 he made last year. There were more online donations than ever before, he told Anton Community Newspapers.
“There were quite a few online [donations] this time around,” Pinto said. “I’m not sure of the number yet but it’s pretty substantial. I appreciate everything that has been done to get the word out about this. This has been a fun time in my life.”
“When I hit that 1000th one, there were a lot of people there celebrated and excited and I know, when I watched the video when I hit it, I kind of hunched over,” he said. “It was pretty tough but totally worth it. Getting ready for it, I was in physical therapy for about two months. So that was kind of a workout.”
Craig was not sure if his previous record was a cause of him going into therapy. He said it was the most he’d been active in a while, since he had not signed with a Arena Football League franchise.
‘I’d like to [play for the AFL],” Pinto stated. “However the foundation is really taking off which has been really great.”
He recently started “FreeBar” a completely gluten, allergen free nutrition energy bar brand. “We’re trying to focus on kids and teens in that area of health,” Pinto said. The manufacturer is based out of San Diego, California, with its main office in Mineola.
“It’s a great venture and I’m glad that everyone is becoming aware,” he said.
Pinto, 32, has had celiac disease for ten years and was first diagnosed while attending Hofstra University. He had to leave school in 1999.
Craig was also diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 12. When he began to get sick at Hofstra, doctors tested him and found celiac. Recently, Pinto graduated NYU with a degree in organizational behavior and communications.
Kicking4Celiac was started by Pinto and was born out of the desire to show children and adults alike that living with celiac disease is not terminal. The Jericho High School graduate was a place-kicker for the New Jersey Revolution of the AFL but the team disbanded. He started playing soccer in ninth grade and began kicking in his junior and senior year of high school.
Pinto currently coaches middle school football in Jericho. He is in the masters program at C.W. Post for mental health and school counseling and substitute teaches when he can. To learn more about Pinto’s cause, visit www.kicking4celiac.com.