Youth Sports Review


Seven Pop Warner Teams Have Microbes Heading to Space

pop warner

By Pop Warner National Staff
March 14, 2014

Twelve Pop Warner Cheerleading teams participated in Project MERCCURI – a citizen science research led by Science Cheerleader, and seven of those teams will have their microbes fly in space this weekend.

The seven teams (listed below) will have their microbes “race” (growth rate analysis) against microbes from the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers, Philadelphia 76ers, Philadelphia Phillies, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, Miami Dolphins, Arizona Cardinals and more!

Led by the Science Cheerleaders (current and former NFL and NBA cheerleaders pursuing science and technology careers), thousands of people across the United States participated in the project.

Several Pop Warner cheer teams swabbed practice fields, shoes and cell phones for microbes. Other people collected microbial samples at NFL, NBA, and MLB stadiums; from schools; from landmarks like the Liberty Bell, Sue the T-Rex, the statue of Ben Franklin in Philadelphia, and the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum; and during events including Yuri’s Nights, a series of gatherings across the country to commemorate the first human in space.

Below is a list of the participating teams:
* indicates teams selected to have their microbes fly in space.

  • Coastal Bengals (NC)*
  • Coronado (San Diego, CA)*
  • Lauderhill Broncos (FL)*
  • Lake Brantley Patriots (FL)*
  • Apopka Blue Darters (FL)*
  • Chittenango Bears * (NY)*
  • Port Reading Saints (NJ)*
  • The other participating teams are: Chicopee Braves (Central Mass.), Fox Valley Gators (Chicago area), Four Points Vipers (Austin, TX), Gladiators (Castro Valley, CA) & Chesapeake Wolverines (VA).

The microbes they gathered were examined by the “microbiology team” in the laboratory of Dr. Jonathan Eisen at the University of California at Davis.

The team selected 48 microbes, which, with approval from NASA, are to ride the SpaceX Falcon 9 to the Space Station for further research. The rocket is scheduled to launch from the Kennedy Space Center on March 16, 2014.

The public will be able to follow Project MERCCURI as it continues over the next several months via the web site

The site will include updates from the research on the Space Station including results of the “microbial playoffs” growth competition. The site also features free interactive visualization tools, lesson plans for teachers, and even trading cards that include photos and the details of each microbe selected for the project, as well as their importance.

April 11, 2014 |

Amateur Athletic Announces New President


Amateur Athletic Union announces new president

September 26, 2012   AAU Kristina

Lake Buena Vista, FL—The Amateur Athletic Union, the nation’s leader in youth sports, announces the appointment of Henry Forrest as the organization’s new president. Forrest assumes the role after the sudden passing of former president, Louis Stout.

Forrest brings a wealth of knowledge to the position, having served in multiple leadership roles within the AAU for over 20 years.

“Mr. Forrest has been around the AAU for a long time and knows what our organization needs to continue to be successful in the future,” said James Parker, Vice President of Operations for the AAU. “I am looking forward to working for Henry, a man who is full of integrity and always does what is right for our AAU members.”

Forrest is a natural-born leader with over 35 years of law enforcement experience. He will continue to champion the positive ideals and goals set forth by the AAU for its members.

“No words can adequately express our sadness at Louis Stout’s passing or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him,” said Forrest. “I am honored to step in and assist our organization during this transition to make us stronger. I can assure you, the AAU will continue to be the industry leader in youth sports now and for years to come.”

Prior to stepping in as President, Forrest served in multiple capacities for the AAU including: AAU 1st and 2nd Vice President, Arkansas Boys Basketball Director and the Chairman of the AAU Compliance Committee.

April 11, 2014 |

Nominate today for America’s Top Amateur Athlete


Known as the “Oscar” of sports awards, the AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award honors the outstanding amateur athlete in the United States. It has been presented annually by the AAU since 1930 as a salute to founder and past president of the Amateur Athletic Union, and a pioneer in amateur sports, James E. Sullivan. Based on the qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship, the AAU Sullivan Award goes far beyond athletic accomplishment and honors those who have leadership skill and strong character which is evident in his/her lifestyle as a whole.

Nominations for the AAU Sullivan Award are reviewed by the AAU Sullivan Award Executive Committee and narrowed to approximately 10 semi-finalists. The finalists will be determined by vote, and they will be invited to attend the awards presentation at the AAU National Headquarters in Orlando, Florida. The announcement of the 2013 AAU James E. Sullivan Memorial Award winner is set for April 2014.

1: Any amateur athlete (collegiate or olympic level and above), in any sport, may be considered.

2: Qualities of individuals nominated should emphasize leadership, character, sportsmanship, and their accomplishments in the world of sport.

3: The AAU Sullivan Award Committee may take nominations based on information from anyone.

4: The athlete must be in attendance for the award presentation, except for extraordinary circumstances, in order to receive the award.

5: AAU Sullivan Award recipients are eligible for re-nomination for this honor.

6: Required Materials: head shot, 1-2 action pictures in your sport, paragraph bio of the 2013 accomplishments, and a highlight video (preferably 3-5 minutes and 5 varied action shots). We would like to create a 30 second video for each nominee at the Award Presentation.

7: Deadline for nomination submission is March 3rd, 2014.
For additional information, please contact Pam Marshall,
AAU National Office at (407) 934-7200 or

December 2, 2013 |

Benefits of Getting Involved in Youth Baseball

There is no better way to spend a beautiful sunny day, than to go out on a green field and play some catch. It’s a reason why baseball is America’s greatest pastime, as it provides the great escape to a very busy and exhaustive lifestyle. Not only is baseball great for recreational purposes, but it also provides the fitness and exercise to maintain one’s health. That is especially true for the youth athlete generation.  After a long day’s work at school and studies, young athletes have a reason to finish their homework early. Not only is baseball a form of physical activity and exercise, but kids love to play it. The sport allows the youth to relieve all the tension from the day’s work and expel that energy in a positive way.  By getting involved in youth baseball and joining teams or leagues, youth athletes can receive direct and proper training by coaches and instructors. By joining a team, youth baseball players will learn the key fundamentals and aspects about the sport, whether it’s hitting, pitching, fielding, proper form, hand-eye coordination, or all of the different attributes it takes to get in shape on the diamond.By participating in the game, baseball helps the enhancement of the athlete’s instructional, organizational and motor skills. It also helps develop the mind of the youth on a physical and mental level, as well as give the determination and drive to reach goals. Baseball harnesses the focus, and induces problem solving ability, ultimately keeping the athlete one step ahead in the game.
Baseball builds relationships. It supplies the individuals with the environment of 15 or so players on a team with an experienced adult coaching staff that all share the common goal and purpose; to develop and enhance talent, go out and win, and more importantly, to experience the fun of baseball, or any other sport. By developing friendships at an early age, children tend to carry these relationships for many more years as they grow together.What enhance the baseball experience more are the qualities of teamwork and effort. A player learns how to play his role in a ball game, whether it is swinging for the fences, or hitting for contact to move a runner over. Players learn how to play for the benefit of the team rather than individual achievements.  One of the most major benefits of playing baseball, or any sport in general, is to stay physically fit and active. The Center for Disease Control(CDC) reported that the obesity problem for the youth generation tripled from the mid 1970s to 2000s. Getting involved on the diamond will certainly provide that benefit for youngsters, especially for a generation where technology seems to take up much of that time.
November 11, 2013 |

Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports


To help ensure the health and safety of young athletes, CDC developed the Heads Up: Concussion in Youth Sports initiative to offer information about concussions to coaches, parents, and athletes involved in youth sports. The Heads Up initiative provides important information on preventing, recognizing, and responding to a concussion.

Concussion Symptoms

Concussions result in global brain dysfunction. As such, all types of neurological function may suffer.

Immediately after receiving a concussion, most players experience some degree of amnesia. In fact, many will not remember the hit taking place.

Sometimes, players will also forget the events just prior to the injury—called retrograde amnesia—or the minutes and hours that follow, known as anterograde amnesia.

While a hit may also knock a player out altogether, a loss of consciousness does not accompany the vast majority of concussions. However, the condition of profound confusion does. Specifically, a concussed athlete may become disoriented and unable to recall the date, location, his or her name or other basic pieces of information.

Headache, nausea, blurry vision and poor balance are also common in the acute phase.

In the hours and days after a concussion, symptoms of sleep disturbances, changes in mood, trouble concentrating and emotional liability may develop.

Concussion Evaluation

A player does not necessarily require a blow to the head in order to suffer a concussion. A hit to the neck or body that results in sharp movement of the head—similar to whiplash, for instance—can also cause a concussion.

Following a suspicious hit, sideline athletic trainers or doctors will advise a coach to pull the player from the field if he or she has not done so already. Medical personnel will then use any of a number of standardized assessment tools to gauge just what is going on inside a player’s head.

October 9, 2013 |
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