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Freshman Football Student-Athlete Ritson Gets Ahead of the Game

Lorenzo Ritson '21
Lorenzo Ritson '21

By: Kevin Ruple

BEREA, Ohio --  Lorenzo Ritson '21 knows what he wants to do with his life after he graduates from Baldwin Wallace University in the spring of 2021, and he is all about making it happen. He entered BW's 2017 preseason camp on August 8 as one of the top Yellow Jacket football recruits. He plans to be a physicians assistant just like his mother.

"My mother, Bonnie Ritson, is the Director of the Clinical Education in the Physicians Assistant Program at BW," said Ritson with a smile and who is extremely proud of his mother. "She makes me excited about the program at BW and becoming a PA. I know how hard she works at it, at BW during the day and at St. John West Shore Hospital [in Westlake, Ohio] at night. I am excited to meet the people she gets to meet in the profession."

A Master of Preparation and Planning

Ritson has prepared for each opportunity, whether it's as a physicians assistant or as a football student-athlete. He wants to be an outstanding physicians assistant and a key member of the 2017 through 2020 Yellow Jacket football teams.

His preparation began last fall while playing football at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio. Ritson began raising funds for the opportunity to travel to Belize through the Global Public Service Academy for Health (GPSA). He set up a "Go Fund Me" campaign on the internet to help with his expenses for his trip to Belize. The expenses included tuition (textbooks and medical supplies), airfare, a passport, emergency evacuation insurance, in-country transportation during his trip, meals and vaccines.

"It was an extremely enlightening experience," said Ritson. "Being in a Third World country and the issues that surround the people such as medicine and nutrition. It opened up a whole new world to me in terms of the way I think about things and appreciate the gifts that I have right now. The people, despite the drawbacks, are such happy people. The trip definitely made me more knowledgeable and has helped me to become more modest in the way in which I live my life."

A Successful Fall Leading Up to his Trip

Following a fall where he helped to lead St. Ed's into the third round of the OHSAA Division I State Playoffs, Ritson was ready for his trip to Belize in early December.  There he had an opportunity to work with some extraordinary faculty, undergraduate medical students from some of the top universities in the country and two of his high school classmates. They were able to work in a local healthcare clinic and make home visits to deliver healthcare that included checking a patient's blood pressure, glucose level, cholesterol and body mass index; give hygiene education and diabetes and hypertension education and management.

Ritson's Familiar With Finnie Stadium and Excited to Get Started at BW

Ritson has already played once on the Tressel Field turf at The George Finnie Stadium when St. Edward played Cincinnati Moeller three years ago.

"I am excited to get started at BW," said Ritson. "I really look forward to the academic and football cultures at BW. Coach Hilvert [first-year Head Coach Jim Hilvert] runs his program very similar to the way it is run at St. Ed's, and I really love it. You could already see the improved tempo."

The Yellow Jacket varsity opens the season on Saturday, September 2 at non-league foe Defiance College. The home and Ohio Athletic Conference opener is on Saturday, Sept. 16 when BW hosts Cleveland cross-town rival John Carroll University on the Finnie Stadium turf at 2 p.m. in the Annual Battle for the Cuyahoga Gold Bowl Trophy.  It also is Community & Family Day at BW.