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University of Iowa punter Tory Taylor teamed up with Raygun to design Taylor t-shirts, with proceeds going to Count the Kicks, a stillborn prevention campaign. Taylor and Raygun owner Mike Draper presented a check for more than $11,000.

Here’s more from Healthy Birth Day:

IOWA CITY, Iowa — (Dec. 20, 2021) — When Iowa Hawkeye Punter Tory Taylor agreed to lend his name, image and likeness to RAYGUN’s “Punting is Winning” T-shirt earlier this season, he did not know the full impact of his choice. On Monday in Iowa City, Taylor will meet a four-month-old baby named Liam who was saved by Count the Kicks, the evidence-based stillbirth prevention campaign that is benefiting from sales of Taylor’s shirts.

“Without the knowledge of kick counts, I have no clue what could have happened and I hate to even think about it. I now have my beautiful baby boy because of this,” said Alyssa Shelby, Liam’s mother, who noticed a change in his movements during pregnancy and alerted her doctor to the important warning sign. 

Research proves the importance of tracking fetal movement during the third trimester. The Count the Kicks campaign encourages moms to get to know the normal movement pattern for their baby by having daily kick counting sessions during the third trimester of pregnancy using the free Count the Kicks app. When the amount of time it takes to get to 10 movements changes, this could be a sign of potential problems and is an indication for expectant parents to call their provider. Count the Kicks, which was started in Des Moines in 2008 by five women who lost daughters to stillbirth or infant death, has helped lower Iowa’s stillbirth rate by 32 percent over the past decade while the rest of the country remained stagnant. The proven stillbirth prevention campaign has now saved babies in 26 states and three countries.

“Punting is Winning” might be the most visible of Iowa football’s philanthropic NIL endeavors. Taylor is not allowed to make money off NIL as a student from Australia because of student visa restrictions, but he can use his name, image and likeness to raise money for a charity. Even people in Taylor’s native Australia have snapped up the shirts.

“I’m just really grateful for everyone going out there and buying a T-shirt,” Taylor said. On Monday, Tory Taylor and RAYGUN Founder Mike Draper will meet Liam, Alyssa, and the Founders of Count the Kicks to see the full impact of the shirts.

“My wife and I have four kids, and so I’ve known of Count the Kicks for years, have loved their work, and we’ve partnered in the past on smaller fundraisers. When Tory mentioned that he’d like his NIL proceeds to go to a non-profit, the punting-plus-kicking sprang into my mind. I suggested Count the Kicks, Tory loved it, and the people who bought the shirts did the rest!” explained Draper.

“We are extremely grateful for the generosity of Tory Taylor, Mike Draper and RAYGUN. Babies’ lives will be saved because of their effort — not just through funds but through awareness. Every expectant parent deserves to know about this important pregnancy information, and we are so grateful for their help,” said Emily Price, Healthy Birth Day, Inc. Executive Director.

Video thanks: Travis Breese, KWWL