June 7, 2013
By Jon Cooper
– Corey Alford likely will hear things about “clipping,” or being “chop-blocked,” or his making a “bald, new statement” when Georgia Tech football fall practices begin in early August.
He’ll laugh it off, of course, not only because he can handle ribbing from his teammates, but because of the reason for his short hair.
The redshirt senior linebacker, who had donned long, flowing blonde hair since arriving on the Flats, recently had his mane cut off, donating it to Locks of Love, a non-profit program that provides hair pieces for children under age 21 that suffer hair loss due to medical conditions.
“I’d heard of Locks of Love from friends and a player on the team last year, (defensive back) Coray Carlson, donated to Locks of Love as well,” said Alford. “When he did that, I had long hair at the time, I was like, ‘That sounds like a really good thing.’ Then I researched it a little bit on line and thought it would be a really good thing to do.
“I decided to grow it out, and as it’s gotten longer, I had always said that I wanted to donate it,” he added. “I, obviously, don’t need all that hair but someone else could use it a lot more than I could.”
The seed that Carlson planted blossomed over the past two years following trips to Children’s Hospital in El Paso, Texas, that the Yellow Jackets made in the week leading up to their Hyundai Sun Bowl appearances.
“We saw some really sick kids,” said Alford. “I remember seeing that some of them had hair loss from various diseases and cancer and all that. That was a real big thing that made me want to do it. It’s so hard to see those kids go through what they go through at a young age. Just a simple thing like this is an easy thing to do.”
The process wasn’t exactly quick, however. Alford had been growing his hair out for nearly 2 1/2 years, trying to get his hair to the required 10 inches that Locks of Love requires for donation.
He grew it and grew it throughout the 2012 season — occasionally getting a trim for shaping purposes. Finally, last week, as he prepared to begin his summer internship at Georgia Quick Start, where he’ll work in the advanced manufacturing training department, his length was right and the opportunity to donate presented itself.
“With me about to graduate I was thinking about cutting my hair,” said Alford, who plans on graduating with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in December (he is six hours short), then pursuing his master’s at Georgia Tech. “I realized it has to be a certain length to donate it and it was long enough. I decided to get it cut, finally.”
Corey, who has set a great example for younger sister, Callie, who recently finished her sophomore season playing softball for Georgia State, and younger brother, Chase, who will try to walk on at Tech in the Fall, has found that the opportunity to get his hair cut while helping kids in the process is really cool.
He’s also has discovered that having less hair is literally cool, especially during informal summer workouts.
“I didn’t realize how hot my hair actually was until I cut it off,” he said. “I was noticing the other day, we were doing running the other morning and I felt so much cooler.”
He feels like a new person, something his fellow Georgia Quick Start employees thought he actually was.
“It was my first day at work with the short hair. I walked in and had a lot of people in the office asking, ‘Who is that?’ It was pretty funny,” he said. “Then they saw it was me and they were asking about it. I was telling them about donating it.”