Fullerton Junior All American Bears

The Fullerton Junior All American Bears are members of the Orange County Junior All American Football Conference (OCJAAF). Comprised of twenty-nine (29) chapter (city) members throughout the Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties, OCJAAF is the largest youth football and cheerleading organization in the nation. The Fullerton Junior All American Bears are honored to contribute to OCJAAF's diversity, which makes the Orange County Junior All American Football Conference number one in competition. The Fullerton Junior All American Bears are proud to sponsor OCJAAF's core values of "family" and of "community" - the standards that keep OCJAAF and the Fullerton Junior All American Bears a leading youth football and cheerleading organization. Families come in many combinations and we celebrate the word of "family" as meaning: team, the Fullerton Junior All American Bears, community and the OCJAAF Conference. There is nothing stronger than the spirit in the word of family and you will see it and feel it within the Fullerton Junior All American Bears organization and our OCJAAF Conference.

The objective of the Fullerton Junior All American Bears program is to inspire youth, regardless of race, color, creed, or national origin; to practice the ideals of health, citizenship and character; to bring our youth closer together through the means of a common interest in sportsmanship, fair play and fellowship; to impart to the game elements of safety, sanity and intelligent supervision; and to keep the welfare of the player and/or cheerleader first, foremost and entirely free of adult lust for glory.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Heatstroke deaths prompt new high school football rules

As summers get hotter, coaches take greater care in high heat and humidity, especially in the Southeast.

August 31, 2012
MARIETTA, Ga. — The August afternoon was a merciful one. The sky above Marietta High School was overcast, and by 3:30 p.m., temperatures hovered in the low 80s as football practice began.

Still, like high school football coaches all over Georgia, Marietta's coaches were leaving little to chance.

Responsible for the health of the 100 students on the field, athletic trainer Jeff Hopp stood by a $2,500 sophisticated temperature gauge on the sidelines to measure the heat, humidity and solar radiation. He set up water stations and every 15 minutes or so coaches made the athletes stop and drink.

On the pavement above the fields, Hopp opened a white canopy, and under it, he set up a large black plastic bathtub filled with water and ice. If a player showed signs of heatstroke, the tub would be his first stop before an ambulance arrived.

Since the mid-1990s, summer football practice, especially the preseason tradition of two sessions a day, has turned more dangerous for high school athletes. From 1994 to 2009, the average number of high school football players who died every year from heatstroke tripled to three from one in the preceding 15-year period, according to a recent analysis of high school heat-related deaths. Last year, seven boys died.

Research suggests that two factors are converging to increase mortality: rising obesity among high school football players and hotter, more humid summers as the climate changes. And while Hurricane Isaac drenched other parts of the South this week, it brought little relief in Marietta, where thunderstorms were offset by temperatures that stayed in the high 80s.

Recognition is growing of the potentially profound health effects of climate change. Tropical diseases are spreading north from their normal geography. In Maine, public health officials are seeing Lyme disease more often, as the warmer summers make northern New England more hospitable for ticks. In climate adaptation plans, states such as California have included public health initiatives, including opening more air-conditioned cooling stations.

Georgia has had the most deaths of any state among high school football players, with eight from 1994 to 2011. Now, along with six other states, Georgia has issued practice plans to avoid heat exertion that all high school football teams must follow or face sanctions. The new rules call for teams to acclimatize players to the heat, as opposed to the old approach of drilling hard from the start of preseason, often for four hours a day and in full pads.

The new rules in Georgia, Arkansas and elsewhere do not mention climate change, but they amount to a detailed response to a public health problem exacerbated by rising temperatures. The rules show how communities can adapt to climate change, even without overtly acknowledging it, once they understand what's at stake.

"You can discuss the new rules as player safety, because if you bring up climate change, all of a sudden, it becomes political," said Andrew Grundstein, lead author of the football mortality study and professor of geography at University of Georgia. "But as a climatologist, I'm really pleased that states are starting to implement the rules because as you start seeing more hot days, I think it's smart policy."

In Georgia, coaches prefer not to discuss climate change. But to Patti James of Little Rock, Ark., the heatstroke her son Will suffered in August 2010, during a three-week stretch of 100-degree days, drove home new realities.

"We got the clue that every summer is going to be really hot," James said, adding that there have been more than 24 days with 100-degree temperatures in Arkansas this year. "This is becoming the norm in the South, and we can't do what we did 40 years ago. I'm so tired of old men coming up to me and saying, 'We never got to drink water when I played football.'"

Two days after Will James collapsed at his school, another 16-year-old, Tyler Davenport, crumpled during football practice in the small town of Lamar, Ark. The boys were brought to the same hospital in Little Rock, where the families got to know each other. Both boys had liver damage and were put in medically induced comas. Will survived. Eight weeks after the day his body temperature shot up to 108.5 degrees, Tyler died.

"When I say my son had heatstroke, people nod. But when I say he was on dialysis for three weeks and a coma for a week, people are like, 'What?'" James said. "There's got to be education on all fronts."

The recent push for new football practice rules has emerged after the deaths of players and the publication of research like Grundstein's.

His study shows that from 1980 to 2009, most of the 58 deaths occurred in the Southeast, where heat and humidity form an oppressive mix. Athletes died mostly during morning practices, considered safer because of the relative coolness. But humidity is higher then.

The nearly 2-degree rise in global temperatures since the late 19th century has contributed to "roughly 7% higher absolute humidity," said Steven Sherwood, director of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

"This means that a 1-degree temperature rise from global warming will have as much effect on athletes training in very humid conditions as would a 3- or 4-degree rise from normal weather variations," Sherwood said.

The majority of the students who died were linemen, who tend be overweight. And they died during the first week of preseason practice, usually in August, when most students are immediately thrown into two-a-day practices, running hours of plays in helmets and full pads, ostensibly to identify the fittest, most tenacious athletes.

"Football is a tough sport, but these kids aren't coming into the preseason as fit as you think they are, and they're not as acclimated to heat and uniforms," said Michael Bergeron, executive director of the National Youth Sports Health & Safety Institute and professor of pediatrics at the University of South Dakota. "You can't condition someone in a hurry, but you can hurt them a lot in one workout."

The National Football League and the National Collegiate Athletic Assn. adopted rules to reduce heat exertion years ago, but high school sports lack a national organization with enforcement authority. As a result, high school reforms happen state by state, often coach by coach, said Douglas Casa, chief operating officer at the University of Connecticut's Korey Stringer Institute, named after the NFL player who died of heatstroke in 2001.

"It's a long, grueling process with the states because you run up against this idea about practices that 'This is the way we've always done it and we don't want to change the way we do it,'" Casa said.

The Korey Stringer Institute worked with Arkansas, Georgia and the five other states to develop their rules. Coaches sign on when they discover that everyone must adhere to the same standards, so that no one gains a competitive advantage.

The new rules in Georgia change but do not abolish preseason practices in high heat and humidity. They require high school football programs to acclimatize players in preseason. If schools hold two practices on one day, they can hold only one practice the next day.

Desmond Bobbett, watching his son practice at Marietta, said he was pleased with Georgia's new rules.

"Even if you're in shape, the heat is a different animal," Bobbett said, as his son raced back and forth with teammates on the field. "I don't think this is coddling at all. There is no such thing as too safe when it comes to making sure kids don't die."

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Student Dies After Being Injured During Flag Football

Student dies after being injured during flag football
Posted: Tuesday, May 22, 2012 11:00 am | Updated: 11:28 am, Tue May 22, 2012.
Hawkins Police Chief Ron Voda confirmed 15-year-old Jacob Gatlin, a Hawkins ISD student, died at Dallas Children’s Hospital Thursday morning from an injury received during an athletics program.
Voda said Gatlin was playing flag football Tuesday when he and another player both jumped up for a pass and bumped heads. School officials made Gatlin sit out. They observed him for a period of time. Voda said Gatlin wanted to keep playing, but was not allowed to do so. Later in the day, he went to the nurse with a bad headache and she sent him home. After going home, Gatlin’s condition worsened and an ambulance was called. He was taken to the hospital and then flown by helicopter to Dallas Children’s Hospital.
Gatlin died Thursday morning from a fractured skull and subdural hematoma, according to the Dallas County Medical Examiner. His family said he had a concussion, swelling in the brain, and a ruptured artery that caused the bleed out.
The other boy was injured, but his injury is not thought to be serious. Hawkins ISD adopted a formal head-injury protocol earlier this year, and Superintendent Dan Rose said all protocols were followed. Rose also said everyone involved with the athletic program knows the steps to follow and the protocol for injuries. The athletics class was mainly a passing drill, also called 7 on 7.
Superintendent Dan Rose issued a statement this morning regarding the death of Jacob Gatlin:
“Hawkins Schools are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our high school students yesterday. We were notified by the family Thursday morning that Jacob Gatlin, a 15 year old freshman student, had died from injuries he sustained while playing flag football in his athletics class.
Jacob was a hard working student and dedicated young man, who enjoyed his school friends, was an active member of the local Boy Scout troop, had become a member of our athletic program at the high school, and was playing summer baseball.
Our entire faculty and student body join his family in mourning the loss of this bright and energetic young man.
Currently, we are in the process of meeting the needs of family, faculty and our students, all of whom are deeply saddened and dealing with the loss of this fine young man. During the last few days, we have had counselors and clergy available for students and staff to help them cope with this tragic and difficult situation. We appreciate the concern and respect that the media has shown to the student’s family and to our school as we have worked to meet the needs of those we serve.”
Superintendent Rose said he really appreciates the youth ministers from area churches that have been on campus during lunch periods to help the students. Spaces have been designated for counseling in the library, and counselors and principals have been in the halls to talk to students or staff.
“The kids are making a memory book. They are writing poems, and expressing their feelings,” added Rose. “His death is very difficult for everyone to deal with-not just the students, but the teachers, principals, coaches, and everyone.”
Update: Hawkins Police Chief Ron Voda said the Medical Examiner ruled Gatilin’s death an accident.
Donations can be made at any Bank Texas location. The family hopes to set up a scholarship fund in Jacob’s memory. Visitation will be Tuesday, May 22, 2012, from 5 p.m. To 8 p.m. At Beaty Funeral Home in Hawkins.
The obit and funeral arrangements are listed on line and in print this week in a separate section. A tribute to Jacob from his scoutmaster is also posted online with a picture and will be in our printed issue this week.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Texas Pee Wee league bars youth

Updated: August 16, 2012, 11:55 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

A Texas Pee Wee football league has ruled that a 300-pound seventh-grader is too big to play, according to Dallas-Fort Worth television station KDFW Fox 4's website.

Elijah Earnhardt, 12, was informed this past weekend by the Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association that he is not allowed to play in the league, according to the report posted on MyFoxDFW.com.

The league's rule is that any seventh-grader weighing more than 135 pounds is barred and must play in his school's league, according to the report.

But Earnhardt, who is more than 6 feet tall, and his mother, Cindy, told the website that they still are pushing for admission into the league.

"I don't want to play in school right now because it's people that's had experience and I want to get some experience first and then start playing," Elijah Earnhardt told the website. "I just want to play because my teammates are my friends -- I know them. I don't want to go play for somebody else I don't know."

Cindy Earnhardt told MyFoxDFW.com that she plans to protest the league's decision.
"For him to come home and just cry and go to his room and say, 'I give up,' I'm not going to let him give up," she said. "This is his dream. This is what he wants to do. And I'm going to make it happen."
Elijah Earnhardt's coach, Marc Wright, also will protest the decision, according to the report. He cited multiple players within the league who are over the 135-pound limit.

"If they're over 135, they have to wear a symbol on their helmet, which is the X," Wright told the website. "So if they're an X-man they have to play offensive line, defensive line only."

Mesquite Pee Wee Football Association president Ronnie Henderson told the website that he sympathizes with Earnhardt but maintained that they must adhere to the league's rule.

"The coach over there should have known this," Henderson said. "He's been told this. He's been to our meetings. He knows this. I don't know where the misunderstanding was. We hate it. I don't like it for the kid or the parents."