MANHATTAN, KS (KSNT) – K-State’s Dalton Risner is a three time team captain. Pro Football Focus rates him as the top offensive tackle in the country, but what he’s doing away from the field is even more impressive. Risner is developing a foundation called Rise Up
“It’s really a foundation to show people what I’m doing through community service whether that be with kids with special needs or kids with cancer or speaking at different schools and eventually I want the Rise Up Foundation to be able to be a non-profit that gets money donated,” Risner told KSNT Sports.
Five years ago at the age of 18, Risner’s life changed when he met Michael Carpenter at a special Olympics baseball game.
“My first time that I was really exposed to someone that had special needs in a way that I had an impact on them,” said Risner. “He came up to me after and gave me a pair of his gloves and said, hey, here you go, man, you’re my big brother, I look up to you.”
Dalton has made trips to Buttonwood Special Needs Home in Manhattan to see Mike ever since.
“I go and visit everyone at Buttonwood Drive probably once a week, I pick up Mike, I’ve done an ice cream party there before with everyone, I brought him here to the complex, I’ve introduced him to Coach Snyder,” said Risner.
“He’s a role model, and he’s a mentor towards me. If I have problems I call him and he helps me,” says Michael Carpenter.
“He impacts anyone he meets. It may be people with special needs, it may be teammates, it may be friends, it may be people like us in the community,” added Michael’s father James.
“I think it’s miraculous that Dalton is willing to spend so much time with Michael and Michael calls him a lot and Dalton is always very patient with Michael, so it means the world to us that Dalton has taken that time,” said Michael’s mother Terry.
Dalton even got Mike to switch allegiances.
“I’m not supposed to say this, but I was a Jayhawk,” Michael said with a laugh.
That changed when Risner joined K-State.
“When he came on the team, that’s the team I’m going for the entire time,” adds Michael.
For the past three years, Risner has also visited Camp Hope, a summer camp for children with cancer. He makes regular trips to nursing homes in Manhattan, and has been a big brother to Kaden, a child from Topeka who’s battled leukemia. Risner would like to put on camps for those with special needs, cancer, and other challenges.
“Be able to go inspire people to be kind, inspire people to have an impact on people around them, not to bully, to be grateful for what they have, be positive, inspire them that they can do anything that they set their mind to,” said Risner.