Recently retired NFL
running back and Michigan State University alum T.J. Duckett will once again
hit the field this Sunday at the first annual Battlefield Brawl. Founded by
Duckett and 26-year-old Lansing native Justin Caine, the charity event will
raise money for the children's neurology clinic at Sparrow Hospital, a place
that Caine said saved his life.
At the age of 10, Caine had a cancerous brain
tumor. He survived, but lost the ability to walk and talk. Thanks to both his
determination and the folks at Sparrow, he regained both abilities. He has
since started his own video production company, dubbed Good Fruit, which
according to their website is an "East Lansing-based video production
company focused on providing high-quality videos for businesses and
municipalities to help heighten their presence on the web." He also sits
on several committees and helps out with many Sparrow events. Still, he felt
the need to give more.
Knowing he didn't want to do the typical golf
outing or 5k, he turned to his favorite sport.
"I've always loved football, but could never
play tackle," Caine said. "Flag football became a great outlet."
Caine said he has been wanting to do this for well
over a year, but it wasn't until he met Duckett, who recently moved back to
East Lansing, that things started to take shape.
"That's when we really got rocking and
rolling," said Caine.
The tournament consists of eight teams sponsored by
various organizations including Powerhouse Gym, Lou and Harry's, as well as
Good Fruit. The team that raises the most money prior to game day gets the
first pick in a celebrity draft consisting of various sports figures brought to
the fold via Duckett. They include Tim Bograkos, "Little" John
Flowers and Travis Walton, as well as Duckett himself.
Caine estimates that the teams have already raised
over $15,000, and hopes that although the event is free, further donations will
be made by those in attendance.
In addition to the main event, there will also be a
dodge ball tournament and games for kids.
"It should be an awesome day," said
Caine, who hopes this event will become regular and spread nationwide.
"I want this to be around for a 100
years," he said.