Written by Rich Forestano Friday, 26 August 2011 00:00
Craig Pinto is all about the cause. He strives to do it; he loves the challenge and can kick a mean field goal of world record proportions. He’s done it once and now he’ll attempt to top it.
The Mineola resident 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 achievement and Pinto’s achievement will be documented in the 2012 Book of World Records. He received a certificate two weeks after the accomplishment.
However, Pinto has a new number in his sights; 1,000 field goals in 24 hours on Oct. 9. Pinto set a world record for most field goals kicked within that time frame, but Craig’s focus was to raise money and awareness for celiac disease.
“We’re doing this again because of the overwhelming support we’ve received,” Pinto said. “The backing that we have gotten from the community and over all good feeling we’ve gotten makes us want to strive to step it up a bit. We got the 12-hour record. Now, we’re doing the 24-hour record.”
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 wants to double the $5,000 he made last year.
“I’d like to bring in as much as possible,” he said. “The $5,000 was great, but $10,000 would be even better. This year, we’re doing it for the foundation and our scholarship fund. The more we can raise, the better.”
Craig’s achievement was recognized even on the state level. Seventh district state senator Jack Martins honored Pinto for his accomplishment recently. He presented Pinto with a state proclamation on March 4.
“It was great being honored by him,” Pinto said. “It was really cool for us, the foundation. It’s something for us to build on and strive to be better.”
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 (Arena Football league), 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 and started practicing on Aug. 17. 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.