North Carolina's Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin, threw out the ceremonial first pitch at Sunday's Kinston Indians game to start this state's observance of National Safe Kids Week.
A baseball fan since his Little League and Babe Ruth League days in Hamlet and one time considered for a baseball scholarship, Goodwin took to the mound at the invitation of Safe Kids of Lenoir County in conjunction with Safe Kids North Carolina in its kick-off of National Safe Kids Week, which runs from April 25 through May 1.
The reason for this special week is to highlight the fact that children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries in this country according to statistics from Safe Kids USA. National Safe Kids Week marks the beginning of "trauma season," and Safe Kids coalitions will hold events statewide to educate kids, parents and caregivers about the best ways to keep kids safe both on and off the court.
"Anytime we can educate young people and their parents about injury prevention is a good thing," said Goodwin. (The Insurance Commissioner serves as chairman of the state organization.)
"More than 30 million kids play sports every year in our country, and on average 3.5 million of these kids are treated for sports-related injuries in hospitals, clinics and emergency rooms annually," said Insurance Commissioner and Safe Kids North Carolina Chair Wayne Goodwin.
"As a parent myself, I want to remind other parents in North Carolina that unintentional injuries remain the leading killer of kids; if there's a silver lining to this scary fact, it's that the majority of these injuries and deaths are preventable."During the week before his first appearance at historic Grainger Stadium in Kinston, the Commissioner practiced his pitching in Raleigh with his Assistant Commissioner and Department webmaster, diligently throwing a baseball on Halifax Mall adjacent to the Department of Insurance. Why the practice?
"Well, the worst thing that could happen is for my pitch to bounce before crossing the plate! But, you know, my pitch at the Indians game was low and outside. It wasn't a strike, but it didn't bounce. Besides, even President Obama bounced his pitch at the Washington Nationals ballgame several weeks ago, so I feel a sense of satisfaction and no embarrassment," said Insurance Commissioner Goodwin.As for the ballgame? The K-Tribe defeated the Myrtle Beach Pelicans 15-2, most notably with six home runs. Contributing significantly to Kinston's win: Goodwin didn't pitch the regular game!
The Commissioner is probably better off doing the "action hero" stuff instead of a baseball career, according to a News & Observer report last year.