Mississippi State University football players stopped by the T.K. Martin Center to meet with the preschool program where they saw the new MSU “Selfless” uniforms that will be worn at the game this Saturday. These uniforms will be worn in support of the T.K. Martin Center.
In the corner of the room, watching all of this unfold, was the Director of the T.K. Martin Center, Dr. Kasee Stratton-Gadke. She said watching the players understand how important these uniforms are for the T.K. Martin Center was incredibly moving.
“It made me sit back and tear up in the corner of the room watching it all unfold,” Stratton-Gadke said. “It is going to be incredible to watch them take the field in that jersey and know what it means to represent. I hope they play like what it means to represent, and I know they will because they are really excited too.”
Currently, athletic teams volunteer to help read to kids or help on the playground as a part of the selfless service that T.K. Martin represents.
The sleek black jersey paired with a maroon helmet and trim, seemingly replicating a circuit board, pays homage to the T.K Martin Center. Founded in 1997, the center serves people with disabilities through assistive technology.
The uniforms were announced in August, just one month after Dr. Kasee Stratton-Gadke took over the position of director of the T.K. Martin Center. Stratton-Gadke said shortly after she took over, Adidas reached out to partner with a program.
“They had us involved down to their marketing and what they were doing,” Stratton-Gadke said. “The circuit board that is built into the jersey is supposed to be representative of the assistive technology that we do here at T.K. Martin.”
MSU, out of seven Universities, was chosen by Adidas to have unique, alternative uniforms because of the work the T.K. Martin Center does in serving the community. Stratton-Gadke said it was incredible that the uniforms will help the T.K. Martin Center too.
“It was so fun to work with them to be a part of the process,” Stratton-Gadke said. “But it also was humbling to know that they had picked us. All proceeds from that jersey come back to T.K. Martin.”
While Stratton-Gadke is unsure how much the center will get from the sales of the jersey, she said it is something special and can have a major impact on the programs the center offers.
“It could be life-changing for the center, really,” Stratton-Gadke said. “The fact that Adidas is such a large company and wanted to partner with our athletic team that is so important to the state of Mississippi. We just felt like, 'Wow, how did we get put in this mix and be a part of that.'”