Ex-Lions donate $100K for youth concussion screenings

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Detroit — Detroit Lions, past and present, continue to step up to help the children of their city.

Earlier this week, quarterback Matthew Stafford and wide receiver Golden Tate surprised the children of Spain Elementary with tickets to Sunday's game against the Titans. The surprise was aired on the "Ellen" show, as part of the unveiling of the new gym Ellen DeGeneres and Lowe's helped build as part of a $500,000 donation this year.

Then, on Saturday, former Lions Rob Sims and Dominic Raiola officially presented a $100,000 donation to Beaumont Health Systems, which will be earmarked for concussion screenings for youth participating in the Detroit Police Athletic League.

The presentation was made Saturday at Henry Ford High School in Detroit. Present were Sims; PAL athletic director Dewayne Jones; Rebecca Grysiewicz, medical director of the Beaumont Concussion Clinic; and Lori Sheridan, neuroscience outreach coordinator.

The money will support concussion awareness, education and screenings for PAL participants; more than 12,000 children participate in at least one of the 11 sports offered by PAL, which was founded in 1969.

"To have former Detroit Lions offensive linemen willing to support our kids with concussion awareness and heads-up tackling says a lot about the concern of youth safety in sports and the importance of caring for our youth involved in contact sports," said Russ Russell, chief advancement officer for PAL.

This is not the first time Sims has stepped up for PAL.

A couple years ago, Sims and wife, Natalie, donated more than $80,000 to help purchase equipment for the football program. Sims wanted to keep his generosity quiet, but PAL spoiled that when it presented Rob and Natalie Sims with their "Game Changer" award at a ceremony in February 2015.

Sims, 32, played guard for the Lions from 2010-14, after being traded from the Seattle Seahawks.

Raiola, 37, a center, played his entire career for the Lions, from 2001-14.

PAL this spring broke ground on a $12-million headquarters, to be located on the old Tiger Stadium site.