A former professional lacrosse player and college football and lacrosse standout who struggled with alcohol and substance abuse. He is now a motivational speaker who talks to high school athletes about the dangers of substance abuse.

Abuse ‘took that all away’

McGRAW — A professional lacrosse player and high school sports star turned- addict from Onondaga County will speak Tuesday to McGraw kids and residents as part of a day-long program examining substance abuse.

Ken Bartolo, a former Jamesville- Dewitt High School athlete, will speak at 7 p.m. in the McGraw High School auditorium to parents and residents, and student assemblies on drug use are planned for fifth- through eighth-graders and high school students.

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Former lacrosse pro gives McGraw kids advice

This story appeared in the February 14, 2018 edition of the Cortland Standard. To become a subscriber, email us, or call us at (607) 756-5665. Back issues available by request.

McGRAW — Ken Bartolo threw away 23 years of his life, ruined relationships, destroyed a career as a professional athlete and watched the world from the wrong side of prison bars.

He points to one bad decision — to take a hit from a joint when he was 15 — but that was followed by years of bad decisions and setbacks as an addict.

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Former pro lacrosse player bringing anti-drug message to Lewis schools


TURIN — A former professional lacrosse player on Thursday will share his story of drug addiction and recovery to students at three Lewis County schools and during a community forum that evening.

“It is important,” South Lewis High School Principal Chad H. Luther said. “Even if it connects with just one, it’s worth it.”

Ken Bartolo, founder of There and Back Inc., is slated to hold student assemblies in the South Lewis, Beaver River and Lowville school districts throughout the day Thursday.

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Former lacrosse player gives motivational, anti-drug message to students


BEAVER FALLS — A former professional lacrosse player on Thursday told students at three Lewis County schools to avoid drugs, help others and make sure they love themselves.

“The most important relationship you’re ever going to have is with yourself,” Ken Bartolo — found of There and Back Inc. — said during a presentation at Beaver River Central School.

Mr. Bartolo, who also held student assemblies at South Lewis and Lowville schools and an evening community forum at South Lewis, was a two-time all-county athlete in both football and lacrosse at Jamesville-DeWitt High School in Syracuse.

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Speaker discusses his substance abuse history with F-M students


March 9, 2017: A former high school and college athlete recently shared with Fayetteville-Manlius High School students how his use of drugs and alcohol negatively impacted the choices he made as a student and later in life as an adult.

On March 3, former professional athlete Ken Bartolo candidly discussed with students in grades 9-12 how his addictions cost him college scholarships, spanned across 27 years and ultimately landed him in state prison.

“I was arrested 15 times, charged with four drunk driving offenses and was pronounced dead twice from drug-induced heart failure,” Mr. Bartolo said.

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Pro athlete tells kids lay off drugs

by Lohr McKinstry

MORIAH — Former professional lacrosse player Ken Bartolo recently had a powerful message for students at Moriah Central School about his long climb back from drug addiction.

As students listened intently, Bartolo told a chilling story of how his promising athletic calling was destroyed when he became addicted to marijuana and prescription drugs in high school in Syracuse.

“I started early,” he said. “It led to a steady decline in my athletic career.”

He was on his way to becoming a professional football player, he said, with scholarships offered to Syracuse University, University of Massachusetts and University of Maryland.

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Three National Keynote Speakers To Highlight 35th Anniversary Conference


The 35th anniversary conference of the New York State Athletic Administrators’ Association is fast approaching and the conference planning team under President, Murphee Hayes, CAA, are working hard to bring our membership another first class conference program in keeping to the theme of “Every Child Deserves A Champion.” This is a very special year for the NYSAAA. Our current President, Murphee Hayes, CAA is the first female president in the 35 years since our first conference. It is also the 35th anniversary of our first conference for high school athletic administrators, held in Liverpool, NY in 1983. With that in mind, our association has some very special things planned for this special year. We’ve gone to great expense to bring in some outstanding national keynote speakers who will bring home the conference theme to all our attendees. We will also provide some very special gifts and events to commemorate this special year.

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Mr. Ken Bartolo shares his story about addiction with

In the beginning of each school year at Rye High, there is a Drugs and Alcohol meeting held in the auditorium that all high school students attend. At this meeting, students listen to a different speaker each year who share his or her story about overcoming drug and alcohol addiction. This year, Ken Bartolo shared his story.

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