Inside Ben Roethlisberger’s Impactful Work Beyond the Field
It’s not unusual for athletes in the fast-paced, high-stakes world of professional football to be acknowledged just for their on-field accomplishments. Players like Ben Roethlisberger are different — they have a tremendous influence outside of the sport and go above and beyond the confines of the field.
While millions cheered him on as he quarterbacked for the Pittsburgh Steelers, it’s the multitudes he’s helped in his private life that just may be Roethlisberger’s biggest fans. His charitable initiatives include academic donations, his own foundation, mentoring, and so much more.
So, who is Ben Roethlisberger?
Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger, nicknamed “Big Ben” by colleagues and fans alike, is a veteran NFL quarterback. Born on March 2, 1982, in Lima, Ohio, he emerged as a football prodigy during his college years at Miami University in Ohio.
“I was in New York. I had my mom and dad with me, my sister was there, and my agent,” Roethlisberger shared on the video Recalling Draft Day. “My college coach at the time and his wife were there. Everyone kind of had their speculations of ‘what number’ and what team. The teams we thought were going to take me didn’t, but it ended up working out perfectly for me.”
History was made that day. Big Ben’s commanding 6-foot-5 stature and undeniable talent led him to become a first-round pick for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2004 NFL Draft.
The Game Changer
What is Ben Roethlisberger known for? Passing the pigskin, obviously. On the gridiron, he’s renowned for his outstanding leadership and quarterback abilities. Being the youngest quarterback to win a Super Bowl to date, he’s a two-time champion, having conquered the big game in 2006 and again in 2009 with the Steelers.
How long did Ben Roethlisberger play? For an astounding 18 years he ruled in the NFL before retiring on Jan. 27, 2022.
Family Ties and Giving Back
The way Roethlisberger prioritizes his responsibilities as a husband and parent demonstrates his dedication to his family. He’s been married to Ashley Harlan since 2011, and the couple has three children. “I knew she was the one early on when we first started dating,” he said on the “Dad Tired” podcast. “And I told her that, I was like … I told someone that too, that I wished that I would’ve married her earlier because everything would’ve been better in life.”
Despite the well-to-do lifestyle afforded by his NFL career, Roethlisberger stayed true to his Midwestern roots. His connection to his hometown and the values instilled in him fueled his commitment to giving back and making a positive impact on the communities that shaped him.
In 2014 Roethlisberger and his wife donated $1 million to his alma mater, Miami University, to support the construction of an indoor sports complex. “This gift is a huge thank you to everything, on and off the field, that Miami University provided me,” he said. “Attending Miami was one of the best decisions of my life and I am happy to play a small part in helping to rebuild this football program.”
In 2018, the couple founded the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation, later renamed the Roethlisberger Family Foundation, with the goal of supporting K-9 units and service dogs for police and fire departments across the United States. Through their foundation, he also partnered with the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
In 2021 he teamed up with Light of Life Rescue Mission in an initiative to feed Pittsburgh’s homeless.
Coaching Kids and a Podcast Venture
As an experienced professional athlete, Roethlisberger recognizes the influence he can have on the next generation He helps aspiring young athletes by sharing his skills and experiences at youth football camps and through mentoring initiatives. In addition, he has taken over as the Quaker Valley Fighting Quakers’ assistant coach, overseeing a youth football squad for players aged 9 and 10.
In recent years, Roethlisberger has taken to the airwaves with “Footbahlin With Ben Roethlisberger,” a podcast that offers fans expert football analysis, casual craft beer recs, and special guests. It offers Roethlisberger a special platform to engage his audience in a more personal and conversational way. The inaugural episode explores Roethlisberger’s 2004 rookie season and his experiences starting with a group of seasoned players.
Ben Roethlisberger’s Incredible Impact
Does Ben Roethlisberger own any businesses? While not an owner of large-scale businesses, Roethlisberger has strategically invested in various ventures. For one, he and his wife provided $2.5 million in funding to NeoLight, a company that’s making strides toward its global goal of providing accessible technology for the diagnosis and treatment of jaundice in newborns.
Ben Roethlisberger’s impact reaches far beyond the thrill of touchdowns and accolades. His commitment to family, philanthropy, connection, and making a difference embodies the qualities of a player who understands the importance of creating a legacy that extends beyond the game. As he navigates post-professional football life, Big Ben’s influence continues to grow, leaving a contribution to his community — beyond the game itself.
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