Back for its second season, My Cause, My Cleats allows NFL athletes to put their hearts on their cleats representing charities that are important them. Players will be honoring many causes including support for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting, social justice, and bullying among many others.
Three NFL players, T.J. Jones of the Detroit Lions, Taylor Gabriel of the Atlanta Falcons, and Erik Swoope of the Indianapolis Colts will take the field sporting cleats designed for the Lisa Colagrossi Foundation in their games on Dec. 3., to spread awareness and to educate the public on brain aneurysms. All three players have lost someone close to them due to the traumatic event.
The foundation has quickly become the nation’s leading organization promoting awareness and understanding of brain aneurysms. The foundation is in honor of Lisa Colagrossi who passed away tragically in 2015 due to a brain aneurysm. The highly-regarded ABC News reporter was a loving wife and mother of two young boys. Her husband, Todd Crawford, founded TLCF to raise awareness of brain aneurysms and their warning signs shortly after her death.
“We are honored, blessed, and grateful that these players are ambassadors for the Lisa Foundation.” Crawford said.
Andre Jones, T.J.’s father, played at Notre Dame where he was a second-team All-American and won a national championship under Lou Holtz in 1988. In 2011 at the age of 42, the elder Jones suffered a brain aneurysm and passed away. T.J., who was a sophomore wide receiver for the Irish at the time, found out of his father’s passing while he was at practice.
It was an easy decision for Jones to partner with TCLF. His father and Crawford’s brother attended Notre Dame together, and a special friendship grew. They would often share apparel with each other.
“Not only was I partnering with a foundation to help with the research and education of what my father passed from.” Jones said, “but, now there was a direct link to my father and someone closely associated with the Lisa Foundation. Too many things were lining up for me not to know partnering with them was the right decision.”
Gabriel almost gave up football at the age of 15 when his mother Kimberly passed away from a brain aneurysm after dropping him off at school. He did not understand what a brain aneurysm was and had a lot of rage and grief built up inside. He is partnering with TLCF for the simple reason to educate.
“When I tell people about brain aneurysms no one familiar with what they are,” Gabriel said.
Also on Gase’s car was a memorial for NFL tight end Konrad Reuland who passed away almost a year ago on Dec. 12, 2016. Reuland, who spent time with the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Baltimore Ravens, and Colts, suffered a brain aneurysm two weeks prior and passed due to complications after surgery. His passing gained media attention when his organs were donated to MLB Hall of Famer Rod Carew.
“It means a lot to myself and Konrad’s family,” Roseboro said of Swoope reaching out. “We are grateful that his memory can help educate others.”
These players will genuinely be wearing their hearts on their cleats when they take the field as they are honoring loved ones who died tragically and spreading awareness, so others do not have to share their grief. Emotions will be running high for these players. However, they can compartmentalize those feelings to help spread the message.
“There will be some added emotion pregame when I put on those cleats and the moments leading up to kickoff,” Jones said.
For Crawford having NFL players spread the message of TCLF is a blessing.
“We have to honor some tragic anniversaries, and our goal is to make it so others do not have to celebrate the same anniversaries," Crawford said. "These players and our other ambassadors are how we can reach the masses.”
To learn more about brain aneurysms and The Lisa Colagrossi Foundation at http://lisafoundation.org/