Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys DT Osa Odighizuwa and punter Bryan Anger run charities inspired by off-field passions

Both players have set up charities that focus on issues near and dear to them

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While the Dallas Cowboys will try to meet high expectations on the field this season, one thing that can't be taken away from them is their hard work off the field.

Both defensive tackle Osa Odighizuwa and punter Bryan Anger lead charities that utilize each player's platform and off the field interests.

For Anger, his organization, Project Restoration Foundation, which is a combination of scuba diving and helping out veterans and public safety officials who suffer from PTSD and social anxiety. For Odighizuwa, he founded the Odighizuwa Foundation, which honors his mother by helping and supporting single parents.

Here are each players' stories:

Bryan Anger

Anger, having come from a military family himself, always appreciated and understood the sacrifices veterans make for our country.

But it wasn't until an off-hand conversation with some buddies one day that he realized he could utilize his love for scuba diving to help veterans with social anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

"While we were up on the boat in between dives, we were just chit-chatting," Anger said in an interview with NBC Local Sports. "I came from a military background. Both grandpas were (in the) military, my brother is Air Force Reserve, so I have a huge support for military. For vets.

"The mission is to help out military vets and public safety officials, whether it's with injuries, PTSD, you name it. The scuba world kind of opens up a new avenue," Anger continued.

Although Anger admits that he cannot explain all of the medical benefits from scuba diving, he said there is proven therapeutic benefits from doing so. Research shows that scuba diving helps reduce the level of cortisol, a hormone that plays an important role in the body's stress response.

At lower depths in the ocean, your body absorbs a higher percentage of oxygen when breathing, growing from 21% of what is breathed in to 30 to 40%. The increased oxygen acts as a therapy to a person's cortisol levels.

Anger also said the organization is set up to be able to allow veterans and public safety officials to scuba dive at a range of levels, from beginner to going out with a master diver.

"We have the pathways set up to advance in any which way they want," he said.

Another therapeutic aspect of Anger's organization is it gives participants a sense of community, allowing veterans and public safety officials to socialize with people with similar backgrounds and interests.

"Veterans give us all of our freedoms and make our life easier, so we just try to do as much as we can to give back to them," Anger said. "I'm passionate about scuba. I love it, and I want to share that passion with others who don't have that avenue."

Dallas Cowboys punter Bryan Anger combined his military background and his passion for scuba to help veterans and public safety officials cope with PTSD and anxiety through therapeutic diving activities.

Osa Odighizuwa

Odighizuwa started his organization to help support an issue that is near and dear to him: single parenting.

Odighizuwa was raised by a single mother, who he honors by having on the board of his organization.

The charity is also co-run by Odighizuwa's brothers, who also share his passion for helping single parents struggling to support a family financially and raise children on their own.

"It was very important for me and my family and my brothers to start, and to just be able to give back to the single-parent community, just knowing where we come from and the struggles that we face in just getting here, we beat the odds," Odighizuwa said in an interview with NBC Local Sports. "And that wasn't because of our own strength. My mom was out here, tooth and nail, to make ends meet for us, and there was a lot of people showing kindness to us. So just wanted to repay that, repay that forward and show kindness to others."

Odighizuwa said the charity so far has helped out hundreds of families by having movie nights and providing resources like backpacks and gift cards when kids go back to school.

He hopes the organization is able to expand its services and resources in the future by offering scholarships and career training.

"I want to take it to a place where we are not just giving resources back, but we are helping people be able to help themselves," Odighizuwa said. "Whether it be scholarships, like just ways that parents can educate themselves. If they're struggling to get a job, just helping them find career paths and stuff like that."

When was each player drafted?

Anger has been a punter in the NFL since 2012, when he was drafted 70th overall in the third round of the draft. He started his career in Jacksonville, and played a few seasons in Tampa and Houston before making his way to the Cowboys in 2021.

Anger made the Pro Bowl in 2021, and also led the league in total yards punted in 2013.

Odighizuwa was drafted 75th overall in the third round of the NFL draft in 2021. He is now starting on the Cowboys' defensive line.

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