Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

An Interview with Colts Linebacker Gary Brackett
Community Role Model and Family Man

by Katie Wynne

September 01, 2011

As the 2011-2012 Colts season is getting underway, the Colts players are spending more and more time working as a team to prepare for another great season of football. Despite the business of the upcoming season, however, Colts defensive linebacker and defensive team captain Gary Brackett still manages to make time for his family and his foundation, IMPACT. In a rare moment of free time, Gary sat down with Indy’s Child to talk about his family and his charity.

Father of one daughter, Gabrielle, 2, and expectant father of a son, Gary works hard to make his family his number one priority.

“I’m a family man first and my job comes second. I try and make sure I handle all of my responsibilities and play an active part in my daughter’s life,” Gary said.

Balancing family and work can be a difficult challenge for a parent, especially when they are the defensive team captain of the Colts! Gary tries to make time each day to spend with his daughter and his wife, Ragan.

“It can be tough sometimes, but it’s all about prioritizing what’s important and time management. I try to be with my daughter every night,” he said.

Family has always been an important part of Gary’s life. Eight years ago, Gary lost his mother, Sandra, father, Granville, and older brother, Greg, in a 16-month span. His brother Greg had been diagnosed with T-cell leukemia in 2003. Gary spent much of his time with Greg in the hospital and even gave him a bone marrow transplant.

Gary said that his decision to start his IMPACT foundation had a lot to do with his experiences with his brother.

“My desire to start IMPACT stemmed really from the experience I had with my brother. Going to the hospital and giving him his bone marrow transplant, I saw so many children affected by disease and I started thinking that if I could do anything to help these children I would,” he said.

Gary founded his IMPACT Foundation in 2007 to provide resources and comfort to chronically ill children and their families, as well as to provide assistance for economically and socially disadvantaged children. Each year, Gary hosts a number of charitable events, including the annual TendHER Heart Luncheon for moms of chronically and critically ill children.

“I give a luncheon every year for mothers and it is meant to be a time for mothers just to relax and breathe. It's about getting these women to draw strength from one another. Relating to each other gives them strength when their child is in remission. So it encourages other mothers to keep pushing forward," Gary said.

Since its founding in 2007, IMPACT has impacted the lives of nearly 200,000 Indiana residents. Gary’s generosity and genuine efforts both on and off the field have earned him the respect of his teammates and recognition from the NFL.

As defensive team captain, Gary must be a role model to his teammates. He also strives to be a role model off the field as well.

“One thing I was always taught at a young age was, to much is given, much is required,” he said. “I think we have obligations to be role models to our young citizens.”

At the end of the day, Gary is just happy to be able to spend time with his family. He tries his best every day to make his daughter proud and honor the memory of his lost family members.

"I've always honored my parents by living my life according to what they taught me," Gary said. "I know they would be proud of me and very encouraged by what I've done with my life."