WNBA Star Tina Charles Is Saving Kids’ Lives Literally

Tina Charles, one of the best women’s basketball player in New York, does so much more than play basketball — she helps save lives.

“For me, it’s very rewarding to know that I’m helping to keep communities’ hearts safe,” she explained.

Charles first fell in love with basketball on the streets of Jamaica, Queens. After a stellar high school career, her talents were noticed by Geno Auriemma, head coach of the legendary UConn Women’s Basketball program. In four years at UConn, she won two national titles and broke the school’s all-time rebound record. Today, she is one of the most successful WNBA players.

But Charles is also a leader off of the court. In 2013, she founded the Hopey’s Heart Foundation, which has donated more than 300 AEDs —machines that treat life-threatening cardiac arrests — to schools.

“For me, it’s very rewarding to know that I’m helping to keep the community’s hearts safe,” she said. “Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the United States. So, my foundation and other like foundations, you know, we’re just out there trying to save lives.”

Mainstream coverage of women athletes is often lesser than their male counterparts. But stars like Tina are helping to change that.