New York, NY and Bend, OR, December 10
- Since 1963, PARADE has celebrated Americans' passion for football by naming its annual All-America High School Football Team, honoring the best high school players in the country. This year, for the first time, PARADE is partnering with Inspireum, an Oregon-based company that develops youth programs, to honor the nation's most inspiring football players with The High School Football ‘Rudy' Awards. Ryan Anderson
of Kent, Ohio, has been named one of 12 finalists to be announced in this Sunday's issue of PARADE. According to his nomination: During the winter of 2011, Ryan was considered to be among the best football players to come out of Ohio. Following a college combine workout in April, Ryan complained of having a sore knee. The checkup that ensued revealed the worst - Ryan was diagnosed with osteogentic sarcoma, otherwise known as bone cancer. The news was devastating to Ryan's family, teammates, and community; but through it all (the diagnoses, chemotherapy treatments and surgeries), Ryan remains the positive force that keeps everyone around him from falling apart. Said Roosevelt football coach John Nemec: "Ryan's future has changed dramatically, but not his spirit. He has become an inspirational leader to us all."
The ‘Rudy' Awards, now in their third year, celebrate outstanding young athletes - not because of their statistical performance, but because of their ability to inspire and motivate teammates, classmates and communities. The awards are named for Daniel "Rudy" Ruettiger, who was immortalized in the 1993 film Rudy, starring Sean Astin.
The longest-running prep honor in history, the PARADE All-America franchise has recognized the top talent in high school sports since 1957, spawning numerous similar programs. In 2010, PARADE broadened its franchise to honor young people who contribute to their communities through service. "The ‘Rudy' Awards now provide us an opportunity to add an important inspirational and emotional element to the program," says PARADE Editorial Director Maggie Murphy.
A total of $25,000 in academic scholarships, provided by the Trusted Sports Foundation, will be awarded to those players who bring the most heart to the game, as opposed to the highest stats. The ‘Rudy' Award winner will receive a $7,500 college academic scholarship, $2,500 to 4 runners-up, $1,500 to the fan favorite, and $1,000 to each of six remaining finalists. They will all be featured in the January 15, 2012 issue of PARADE alongside the 2012 PARADE All-America High School Football Team.
The ‘Rudy' Awards finalists were chosen from 50 semifinalists, 40 selected by Trusted Sports Foundation and 10 by a fan vote. A second round of voting determined the current top 12 finalists. The winner and runners up will be chosen by an esteemed Selection Committee, which includes former NFL greats Troy Aikman, Drew Bledsoe and Shaun Alexander. The fan favorite is determined by online voting.
The first-ever recipient of the High School Football Rudy Awards is Calob Leindecker of Baton Rouge, LA, who lost his leg in a car accident caused by a mudslide when he was 16. After undergoing nine surgeries, including the amputation of his leg, he said at the time, "You can take my leg, but you can't take my heart". Two years of recovery, rejection by his skin of the prosthetic and rehabilitation never dampened his spirit or resolve to play football with his team, the Park View Eagles. When he dressed for the first time since the accident and led his team onto the field, there wasn't a dry eye in the stands.About PARADE
PARADE, the most widely read magazine in America, is distributed in more than 600 of the nation's finest newspapers. The magazine, which launched in 1941, now has a circulation of 32.4 million and a readership of 67 million. Each Sunday in PARADE and every day at Parade.com, our mission is to connect emotionally with Americans about the issues they care most about and move them to action. About Inspireum and The High School Football ‘Rudy' Awards
Inspireum utilizes the power of social media, technology and community-based marketing to share inspirational youth achievement in sports and community service. We discover, amplify, and celebrate young people who inspire their schools, teammates, friends, family, and community. The High School Football ‘Rudy' Awards celebrate inspirational young athletes who embody the values of character, courage, contribution and commitment through the sport of football. Recognizing and rewarding these outstanding players inspires other youth to pursue sports as a positive, action-oriented path to self-discipline, leadership, strong academic performance and a healthy lifestyle.
Images and video are available online at www.HighSchoolRudyAwards.com
Contact: Alexis Collado, PARADE (212) 450-7014
Sandy Henderson, Inspireum (541) 848-9509