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Rudy Awards for High School Athletes Have Support from Play Like a Champion Today

on Wednesday, 12 October 2011.

News from Play Like a Champion and the Trusted Sports Foundation

Bend, OR – September 2011 – During the third year of the successful High School Football Rudy Awards more amazing stories will be told of the power of sports to develop moral strength. This 'feel good' program searches for nominees from around the nation, and honors them for their commitment to excellence, oftentimes in the face of personal challenges. The awards are based on the inspirational story of Daniel 'Rudy' Ruettiger, who overcame personal challenges with great moral strength and unrelenting persistence to make the Notre Dame Football Team. His real-life story is featured in the classic football film RUDY and serves as the original example of character, courage, commitment and contribution that this award is based on.

$25,000 in academic scholarships will be awarded by the Trusted Sports Foundation to 12 young football players based on the size of their heart rather than performance or statistics. The emphasis on personal growth through sports resonates with both Play Like a Champion Today® and the High School Football Rudy Awards. Play Like A Champion Today® encourages the development of young athletes whose "Rudy-esque" actions serve to motivate other young athletes to 'dream big and never give up'.

Since the program's launch in 2009, the awards have placed the spotlight on over 700 players and has generated over 5 million votes. Drew Bledsoe, former New England Patriots star and four-time Pro Bowl quarterback is the Chairman of the national Selection Committee that also includes Dallas Cowboys quarterback legend Troy Aikman and former New England Patriots linebacker, Tedy Bruschi, both three-time Super Bowl Champions. Other notable selection committee members include Leigh Anne Tuohy, mother of Baltimore Ravens player Michael Oher and inspirational figure of the film The Blind Side and Shaun Alexander, former Seattle Seahawks running back and NFL MVP.

Trusted Sports Founder John Ballantine likens the awards to their inspirational leader's famous journey. "Rudy always followed his dreams despite overwhelming challenges," said Ballantine. "Many of our nominees turn up and give everything to their team even when times are tough and it becomes painful to continue. Their commitment shows the emotional strength of a true winner. We're excited to partner with Play Like a Champion Today® to reassert sports as a tool for personal development and to highlight nominees as examples of how supportive teams, coaches, and programs can foster effective members of society."

"These awards reflect the powerful life lessons that we see young people learning from sports every day," said Kristin Sheehan, program director for Play Like a Champion Today® in the Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) at the University of Notre Dame. "We celebrate not only the inspirational football players, but also the culture of integrity, perseverance, and moral leadership that is passed to these athletes by coaches and parents. The Rudy Awards help to nurture the bold vision that we associate with the story of Rudy and with Notre Dame's famous call to be a champion."

The Trusted Sports Foundation has granted $50,000 in college academic scholarships to high school football players. Twelve finalists will share $25,000 in academic scholarships, with the winner receiving a $7,500 scholarship. Anyone can nominate the 'Rudy' on their team at

About Trusted Sports Foundation
Trusted Sports Foundation is a nonprofit organization focused on inspiring kids to thrive in life through sports. Our goal is to empower underserved youth to live up to their full potential through positive sports experiences that form active, healthy habits for a lifetime. Through our national inspirational youth sports awards programs, we reward perseverance, character and leadership with academic scholarships for athletes who inspire their teams, schools, and communities. Our Kids In The Game giving program connects donors with youth sports programs in need of support, creating more opportunities for low-income, underserved youth to play sports.

About Play Like A Champion Today
Play Like A Champion Today® is an innovative coach and parent education organization that is transforming the culture of youth sports. Based at the University of Notre Dame as part of its ACE initiative to strengthen K-12 education, Play Like A Champion Today® offers a child-centered, research-based approach to coaching and sport parenting.

For information: /
Video, 2010 Winner, Chance Anthony:
Press Contact: Sandy Henderson

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