Carolina’s Panthers running back Reggie Bonnafon burst onto the scene as a stand-out player from Louisville, but it’s his unselfish compassion for others that’s impacting his hometown.
Bonnafon and sports and entertainment company Total 360 Management helps improve the lives of Louisville youth and young adults. With the prominence of football in the city, locals view him as a homegrown hero they can strive to be. But, according to Bonnafon, the goal is to ensure kids know sports are not the only way out of less than ideal situations.
“The reason it has been important for me to come back to Louisville and help the youth and community is that growing up that’s all I ever wanted to see,” Bonnafon said. “People that I looked up to almost didn’t seem real. I never saw them as a kid and people my parents would say were from Louisville. I couldn’t understand why they never came back to local schools or just showed their face. Louisville is one place I always want to come and give back to because that’s what made me who I am today.”
Bonnafon and Total 360 Management have held several events in the city to push their mission of charitable giving and activism. Last summer, they hosted a meet and greet at Oneness Sneaker Boutique along with a football camp at Flaget Field.
Participants were able to experience hands-on training from the NFL running back. He also visited students at Shawnee Academy, a magnet middle and high school specializing in aerospace science, to share his college experience.
Along with his trainer, former WKU running back Marell Booker, Bonnafon spoke with inmates in the Drug and Alcohol program at Louisville’s Metro Department of Corrections. Bonnafon returned to his old stomping grounds, visiting University of Louisville Speed School of Engineering students. Partnering with Aquilo Sports, they spoke about how the Aquilo Recovery System improves an athlete’s overall ability to recover and improve their body.
According to Bonnafon, Louisville boxing legend Mohammed Ali inspired him to give back to the Derby City.
“I would say, Ali,” he said. “Growing up just seeing the impact he had on the city of Louisville and also on the world and the values that he embodied can’t be matched. I’m just trying to do my best with the platform that I have been blessed to help and inspire the next generation to be better and achieve new heights.”
Bonnafon said the current coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted this year’s community outreach plans.
“The outbreak has affected everyone in some form or capacity, “he said. “Having to alter when, where and how I train has been an adjustment, to say the least. This is allowing me and my marketing management to go to the drawing board and become more creative on ways to reach out into the community under such circumstances.” Bonnafon and Total 360 Management community efforts have enriched the local community. Hopefully, the lockdown from COVID-19 is lifted so they can return to Louisville and expand upon the great work that they have started.
Bonnafon played for the Trinity Shamrocks, one of the most storied high schools in the nation. He started his collegiate career at the University of Louisville as a quarterback.
After Lamar Jackson came along, Bonnafon switched to wide receiver and running back. He helped build the university’s football program as it transitioned into the ACC. His unselfishness, hard work and passion have made him a versatile asset for the Panthers.