Press Release – Former National Football League player Randy Fuller and Ricardo McDonald are scheduled to appear at the Gridiron Heroes’ booth at this year’s Bruner Auto Group’s Pioneer Days in Early, Texas as a participant in a fund-raising effort by Blue Sky Entertainment. Blue Sky Entertainment manages local radio stations SUNNY FM, LA LEY, KISS FM and THE BULL.

Fuller and McDonald partnered with Gridiron Heroes, Songbird Lodge and E6 Plumbing to make a difference. Gridiron Heroes provides immediate as well as long-term resources and support to players struck down with a catastrophic spinal cord injury through activities associated with high school football. This outreach ranges from personally going to the hospital to be with the injured player and his family to providing wheelchair-accessible vans, organizing training clinics and lobbying for safer tackling techniques.

Randy Fuller is a former NFL football player who played cornerback for six seasons for the Denver Broncos, Pittsburgh Steelers. Atlanta Falcons, and Seattle Seahawks. He is known for breaking up the ‘Hail Mary’ pass from Jim Harbaugh intended for Aaron Bailey in the 1995 AFC Championship Game to secure the Steelers victory, sending them to their fifth Super Bowl (XXX), and their first in 16 years.

Fuller added, “I call that play the ‘Immaculate Deflection’ and it was one of my most memorable career moments. Being able to play at the highest level of the game with my family and friends supporting me was special to say the least. Even though we did not walk away with the Lombardi trophy, we were still able to hold our heads up high, having left everything on the field and competed at the highest level of the game. There really is no other feeling like it.”

Ricardo McDonald played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Chicago Bears, and the Denver Broncos. He played college football for the University of Pittsburgh. He played for Eastside High School in Paterson, New Jersey under Coach Barrett ‘Barry’ Rosser. Joe Louis Clark was the school’s Principal during his attendance there, as depicted in the film Lean on Me.

Ronald Oswalt, Gridiron Heroes, Senior Director of Marketing/Corporate Development said, “Through just word of mouth Songbird Lodge, La-Quinta/Brownwood and E6 Plumbing have agreed to be partners. Our goal was to help others while giving residents of Early and Brown County unprecedented access to the players during autograph sessions.”

Gridiron Heroes was formed after Chris Canales, a senior defensive back playing for San Marcos Baptist Academy, sustained a spinal cord injury during the fourth quarter of his final regular season game on November 2, 2001. Chris lay motionless on the field for 19 minutes. The next three weeks, Chris fought for his life. The following months he battled through rehabilitation trying to gain movement and learning how to function as a quadriplegic. Chris’ injury and the lack of any organized support system for families prompted his father, Eddie Canales, the Canales family, and former coach Mike Kipp to begin discussions about the desperate need for an organization for families who were forced to deal with the consequences of this devastating injury.

Gridiron Heroes Spinal Cord Injury Foundation was formed in 2003 with a specific mission: To provide immediate, as well as, long term resources and support to individuals sustaining catastrophic spinal cord injury through activities associated with high school football.

To date, Gridiron Heroes has provided financial and moral support to 75 injured players around the country. Chris and Eddie drive to wherever they need to be to support the family and mentor the fallen athlete. They are always just a phone call away.

For more information on Gridiron Heroes, visit: gridironheroes.org or Facebook facebook.com/gridironheroes or Twitter at twitter.com/gridironheroes

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