Chapter Update: High drama from Lehigh and seven teams register Week 6 victories


Lehigh won its second game in a row behind a defense that held Colgate in check all day and came up with a dramatic stop just short of the goal line on the final play of the game.

Freshman Zaythan Hill put the Mountain Hawks in front 21-14 with a 9-yard touchdown scamper with 33 seconds remaining in regulation.

But Colgate zipped down the field, thanks to three completions and a pass interference call, to move to the Lehigh 9-yard line with 1 second remaining.

Raiders quarterback Grant Breneman hit wideout Garrett Oakey in the flat on the run, but as Oakey raced toward the corner of the end zone strong safety Divine Buckrham, the Lehigh Chapter Vice President, swooped in and brought Oakey down two feet short of the goal line.

It was the second consecutive week where the Lehigh defense delivered a seven-point victory in a low scoring game. The Mountain Hawks limited Colgate to 213 total yards, registered seven sacks and allowed only three third-down conversions.

Senior linebacker Keith Woetzel led the Lehigh defensive effort with 13 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 2.5 tackles for loss.

Baylor: The undefeated Bears used another lights-out performance by their defense and a running game that took over in the fourth quarter to record their first Big 12 Conference road victory in two years. Baylor’s defense surrendered only one touchdown, had two takeaways and finished with an eye-popping six sacks and 15 tackles for loss – the most in a conference game in more than a decade. Nursing an 11-point lead heading into the fourth quarter, the Bears’ ground game churned out 83 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter to move Baylor to 5-0 and a spot inside the latest Top 25 rankings.

Davidson: The Wildcats scored on their first four possessions and six of their first seven drives to run away from Morehead State in the Pioneer League opener for Davidson. Junior running back Wesley Dugger had four touchdowns on the ground as part of a 134 yards on 14 carries day. Davidson Chapter President and linebacker George Hatalowich tied for second on the team in tackles with six and also had a tackle for loss.

Penn State: A fast start by the offense and a ferocious four-quarter effort by the Nittany Lions defense suffocated visiting Purdue in the 100th Homecoming at Penn State. Before the game was 16 minutes old, the Nittany Lions led 28-0 thanks to three touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown from Penn State Chapter President and quarterback Sean Clifford. The defense took it from there, limiting the Boilermakers to 104 total yards and minus-19 rushing yards – the fewest rushing yards allowed by Penn State since 1978 and fifth-fewest since 1947. Defensive ends Yetur Gross-Matos and Shaka Toney combined for five of the Nittany Lions’ 10 sacks – one shy of the school record.

Learn more about Eastern Illinois Chapter President and quarterback Jaylon Banks in our Beyond The Trophy series

Princeton: Trailing by a field goal at halftime, the Tigers rallied for 14 second-half points while the defense locked down Columbia and kept the Lions off the scoreboard. The defending Ivy League champions have now won 13 straight games. A blocked field goal by Joey DeMarco early in the fourth quarter that would have made it 14-13 set the table for Princeton to put the game away. The Tigers followed that blocked FG with a 10-play, 80-yard march that made it a two-score game. Princeton’s defense limited Columbia to 35 rushing yards and 3 of 14 on third down.

Notre Dame: For the second time this season, quarterback Ian Book threw five touchdown passes in a game, only this time all five of his TD tosses came in the first half to make Book the first Fighting Irish QB in school history to throw five touchdown passes in a half to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week. Notre Dame Chapter Vice President Brock Wright had one catch for 40 yards in the blowout of Bowling Green.

Maryland: Four of the Terrapins’ seven touchdowns covered 42 or more yards including an 80-yard TD pass on the first play of the game and a 100-yard kickoff return to end Maryland’s two-game slide. Maryland scored on three consecutive offensive plays in the second quarter to open up a 27-7 cushion. All three Maryland wins this season have been by a 40-plus point differential, marking the first season the Terrapins have posted three 40-plus point victories since 1974.

Chapter Update: Late field goal propels Baylor to 4-0 and 13 teams post Week 5 victories


Baylor redshirt freshman kicker John Mayers missed a 38-yard field goal early in the game, but drilled one from the same distance into a stiff wind with just 21 seconds remaining to propel the Bears to 4-0 overall with the victory in their Big 12 opener over Iowa State.

Late in the third quarter, the Bears led 20-0 before the Cyclones offense caught fire and ripped off 21 unanswered points on three consecutive drives to surge in front with 3:45 to play.

Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer rallied his squad with a clutch 13-play, 54-yard drive that set up the winning field goal. Brewer was 7-of-10 on the decisive drive and converted three times on third-down plays.

The Bears have won six straight games (dating back to 2018 season) for the first time since opening the 2016 season 6-0.

Penn State: Sophomore quarterback Sean Clifford had a career night and set a school record in only his fourth start. The Penn State Chapter President set personal records for yards passing (398) and completions (26) and he set a school record for passing yards in a half with 287 in the blowout of Maryland. Clifford also scored the first rushing touchdown of his career on the Nittany Lions first snap from scrimmage. The shutout by the Penn State defense was the first at Maryland since 1970.

Penn: Senior running back Karekin Brooks scored a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs covering 2 and 31 yards to seal a road victory at Lafayette for the Quakers’ first win of the season. Penn was nursing a four-point lead entering the final 15 minutes before Brooks found the end zone twice. He finished with 202 yards on 29 carries.

Brooks’ 202-yard game was the third 200-plus yard game of his career and in the process he became the first player in program history to post three career 200-plus yard games to earn the Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Western Michigan: The Victory Cannon will stay in Kalamazoo for the seventh time in the last nine years after the Broncos rolled over in-state rival Central Michigan. The WMU defense limited the Chippewas to 107 rushing yards and shut them out for three quarters. Western Michigan Chapter President Justin Tranquill recorded the first sack of his career, his second interception in 2019 and also had a tackle for a loss. 

Lehigh: It took one of the best defensive efforts in recent Mountain Hawks history for Lehigh to post its first victory of the season. Despite being on the field a whopping 37 minutes, the Mountain Hawk defense held Merrimack to minus-25 yards rushing, recorded six sacks, posted two takeaways and the only points Lehigh surrendered was a second-quarter field goal. 

Notre Dame: Behind a defense that posted eight sacks and five turnovers, the Fighting Irish rallied from its first halftime deficit of the season to outscore Virginia 21-3 in the second half in a battle of previously Top 20 ranked teams. Defensive end Julian Okwara led the defense with 3 sacks, two quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles, both of which led to Irish touchdowns. Notre Dame Chapter President Drew White tied for the team-high in tackles with seven including five solo stops.

Saint Francis: A blocked punt set up the Red Flash for the only touchdown of the game in a defensive tussle in Rhode Island with Bryant. In it’s three wins, Saint Francis has only surrendered 14, 13 and six points. In a game that saw the two squads combined for 20 punts, the Red Flash defense limited Bryant to 210 total yards, a pair of field goals and 2 of 17 on third down. SFU Chapter President Nick Rinella paced the defense with eight tackles including seven solo stops and a tackle for a loss.

Florida State: Quarterback Alex Hornibook, a graduate transfer from Wisconsin, made his first career start for the Seminoles and threw for a career-high 316 yards and three touchdowns in the victory over NC State. The victory over the Wolfpack marked the first time since 2016 that FSU has posted back-to-back victories in ACC games since the 2016 season.

Learn more about NC State Chapter Vice President Dylan Autenrieth in our Beyond The Trophy series

Stony Brook: Junior quarterback Tyquell Fields scrambled 50 yards for a touchdown on a fourth-down play to score with 11 seconds remaining to give the Seawolves a dramatic come-from-behind road victory in their CAA opener. Stony Brook and Rhode Island combined to score 37 points in the wild fourth quarter that saw URI score a pair of touchdowns in less than 30 seconds inside the final 2 minutes to erase a 10-point deficit.

Syracuse: Quarterback Tommy DeVito, the first-year starter for the Orange, threw four touchdown passes for the second consecutive game becoming only the second Syracuse quarterback in program to have multiple four-plus touchdown games during his career in the comfortable win over Holy Cross. Former Orange signal caller Ryan Nassib threw four TD passes in a game four times during his career.

Princeton: Senior quarterback Andrew Davidson, making only his second start for the Tigers, broke the Princeton and Ivy League single-game record for touchdown passes in a game with seven in the victory over Bucknell. Senior wide receiver Andrew Griffin hauled in four of those touchdown passes to tie the 28-year-old school and Ivy League record for touchdowns by a wide receiver in a game. 

Fordham: Rams linebacker Ryan Greenhagen, coming off back-to-back Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week honors, appears to be a strong candidate to make it three in a row after posting 13 tackles, including 10 solo, a career-high 4.5 tackles for a loss and one sack in a victory over Richmond. Defensive back Dervin Hylton Jr. knocked down a pair of passes in the end zone in the dying seconds to preserve the second win of the season for Fordham.

Clemson: The defending National Champions made it 20 victories in a row thanks to its defense stuffing North Carolina on a two-point conversion attempt inside the final two minutes to preserve a one-point victory over the Tar Heels. It was the first road victory for the Tigers at North Carolina since 2002.

Chapter Update: Kent State offense explodes and seven other teams post Week 4 victories


Kent State exploded on homecoming weekend, posting a school record 750 yards of offense and averaged a record 8.9 yards per play on its way to 62 points and victory over Bowling Green.

The last time the Golden Flashes posted more than 700 yards of offense was in 1948 against Connecticut. In perfect balance, Kent State had 375 yards rushing and passing.

All three quarterbacks, Dustin Crum, Woody Barrett and Kavious Price had a touchdown pass.  Crum led the way with 310 yards and three TD tosses.

Joachim Bangda and Jo-El Shaw each went over 100 yards rushing and the Golden Flashes had 11 players catch at least one pass.

For the first time since 2004, Kent State had a 300-yard passer and 100-yard rusher in the same game. Price threw his first career touchdown pass in the first quarter and caught a touchdown pass in the third quarter to become the first Golden Flashes player to throw and catch a TD pass in the same game since 2012.

Kent State Chapter President Antwan Dixon had three catches for 29 yards.

Syracuse: Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tommy DeVito accounted for more than 370 yards of total offense and five touchdowns to pace the Orange past Western Michigan to snap their modest two-game losing skid. DeVito threw for 287 yards and four touchdowns and tacked on another 85 yards and a score on the ground. The Broncos, behind 356 yards from QB Jon Wassink and 165 yards on the ground from RB LeVante Bellamy, kept this a nip-and-tuck affair through three quarters. Syracuse scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to pull away.

Orange kick returner Sean, Riley became Syracuse’s career leader in kickoff returns (107) and kickoff return yards (2,299) with two kickoff returns for 32 yards in the victory over WMU. He passed Qadry Ismail (105 kickoff returns, 2,290 kickoff return yards) in both categories to earn Uplifting Athletes Rare Performance of the Week.

Learn more about Western Michigan Chapter President Justin Tranquill in our Beyond The Trophy series

Stony Brook: Redshirt sophomore RB had a breakout game, rushing for a career-high 182 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Seawolves in a commanding victory over Fordham at home. The win was the 12th straight victory for Stony Brook at Kenneth P. LaValle Stadium. The Seawolves’ defense limited the Rams to 38 rushing yards on 30 carries.

Baylor: Led by a defense that recorded eight tackles for a loss and three sacks, the Bears escaped Rice with a road victory to stay unbeaten. Bears DE James Lockhart collected his first career fumble recovery to end a sequence of three plays where he recorded a pass break up, a tackle for loss and a fumble recovery.

Princeton: The Tigers are replacing a wealth of talent from an offense that sent a couple players to the NFL ranks. However, their opening act of 2019 looked a lot like the Ivy League championship team of a year ago. Princeton piled up nearly 550 yards of offense and 49 points to overwhelm Butler in its season opener.

NC State: Two huge plays by the Wolfpack special teams were key in the home victory over Ball State. NC State’s Thayer Thomas returned a blocked punt 76 yards for a touchdown and, in the fourth quarter, Max Fisher blocked another punt that set up the Wolfpack inside the 10-yard line and led to a touchdown.

Clemson: Before the second quarter was a minute old the Tigers had already posted 24 unanswered points to overwhelm Charlotte for a record 19th victory in a row for the defending National Champions and consensus No. 1 team in the country.

Florida State: Led by running back Cam Akers, the Seminoles raced out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on Louisville and never looked back to even their record at 2-2. Akers finished with 115 yards on 29 carries and scored two of his three touchdowns in the first quarter. 

Lift For Life 2019 was a tremendous success and saw a record 21 college football chapters hold events


Over the course of five months, earlier this year, a record 21 members of the Uplifting Athletes’ chapter network held our signature event, Lift For Life, to raise awareness and funds in support of the Rare Disease Community.

Lift For Life 2019 was conducted in two phases. It started in Philadelphia with Penn on February 23 and finished in Waco, Texas with Baylor on July 24.

In between, the impact these student-athletes had on the Rare Disease Community, using their platform and voice as college football players to inspire others and support the cause, was staggering.

“While each program uses their platform in their own unique way, the common thread that unifies our chapter network is the forward thinking that enables these special student-athletes to empower their teammates to share their spotlight in order to shed light on a community that truly needs, values and appreciates the support,” said Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett. “Uplifting Athletes is humbled to work with such incredible student-athletes.”

During this year’s Lift For Life season, the audience created by these 21 chapters was over 52 million. More than 34 million of that came through social media followers and another 18.5 million was generated by online news focused on the 2019 events.

Every Lift For Life is unique at each university campus, but the driving force behind the event is the same for all our chapters nationwide. Lift For Life is an opportunity for teams to take a regular strength and conditioning workout and use it to raise money and awareness for the Rare Disease Community.

This year, Lift For Life raised nearly $175,000. The proceeds from Lift For Life support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Once Penn kicked off Lift For Life 2019, Phase 1 charged into high gear with Stony Brook, Saint Francis, Davidson, Lehigh, Marist and Princeton holding events in March, April and May.

Phase 2 of Lift For Life was ignited by Northwestern and Western Michigan lighting the fuse with events in May and June, respectively.

That set the table for the Rare Road Trip 2019 – the final Lift For Life blitz that saw 12 chapters hold events over a 12-day period in July.

Kent State started the Rare Road Trip 2019 ball rolling and was followed by Penn State, Florida State, Clemson, NC State, Syracuse, Maryland, Notre Dame, Colgate, Illinois, Eastern Illinois and was capped off by Baylor.

The record 21 FBS and FCS chapters that gave their all to support the Rare Disease Community represented 10 NCAA Football Conferences including: Ivy League, Colonial Athletic Association, Northeast Conference, Pioneer Football League, Big Ten Conference, Mid-American Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Patriot League, Big 12 and Ohio Valley Conference.

Congratulations to Lehigh, Marist, Western Michigan, Kent State and Eastern Illinois for each holding its inaugural Lift For Life this year. It’s an honor to have those programs join our team.

“Lift For Life 2019 reached new heights with a record number of chapters hosting events and five programs holding their first Lift For Life as part of our team,” Brackett said. “We are grateful to everyone involved for making Lift For Life a success and joining us to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope.”

Seven chapters make for a busy and successful Spring Lift For Life schedule


This was a busy spring with seven chapters holding Lift For Life events in support of Uplifting Athletes and its mission to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport.

Penn, Stony Brook, Saint Francis, Davidson, Lehigh, Marist and Princeton, all FCS college football programs, recently held their annual Lift For Life events.

2019 Penn Chapter Lift For Life

For the Lehigh and Marist Chapters, 2019 was their inaugural Lift For Life as part of the Uplifting Athletes team.

“Starting an Uplifting Athletes chapter at Marist is an opportunity I couldn’t pass up on. I’ve always wanted to get involved in the community and help those who need it and with Uplifting Athletes I believe that’s possible,” said Red Foxes safety and Marist Chapter founder Paul Olivett. “On behalf of Marist and the football team, we look forward to being a part of the many college teams tackling rare diseases.”

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event of the Uplifting Athletes nationwide network of chapters led by college football student-athletes.

2019 Lehigh Chapter Lift For Life

Lift For Life is unique at each university campus, but the driving force behind the event is the same for all our chapters nationwide. Lift For Life is an opportunity for teams to take a regular strength and conditioning workout and use it to raise money and awareness for the Rare Disease Community.

The Davidson Chapter reached a milestone this year when it became only the fourth Uplifting Athletes Chapter to raise more than $10,000 in each of its first two Lift For Life events joining Penn State, Boston College and Notre Dame in rare fundraising air.

“It’s been incredible to see the development and growth of our Uplifting Athletes Chapter at Davidson College,” Davidson Chapter leaders and co-founders George Hatalowich and Kevin Stipe said. “Our success is truly a testament to the players, coaches, and athletic department that bought into the organization and our chapter’s goals.

“We are extremely proud to be a part of Davidson’s Chapter and we can’t thank the Uplifting Athletes organization enough for their continuous support and guidance throughout this entire process.”

2019 Davidson Chapter Lift For Life

The seven events to kick off the 2019 Lift For Life schedule this spring raised more than $50,000 to support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

“It is an honor to be able to use our platform to help raise awareness and support the Rare Disease Community through Uplifting Athletes,” Saint Francis Chapter President Nick Rinella said. “We are all proud to be part of a team that is working so hard to tackle rare diseases.”

Today, the challenges faced by the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. Each chapter is part of the nationwide network of teams that are uniquely positioned to educate and engage their local community to shine a spotlight on the rare disease cause.

Lift For Life will continue throughout the summer with the FBS schools kicking their offseason training into high gear along with a couple FCS schools that opted for summer events instead of the spring.

“Uplifting Athletes has given me a humbling and incredible opportunity to help give back to the Rare Disease Community,” Princeton Chapter President and offensive lineman Luke Aschenbrand said. “Meeting rare disease patients who appreciate the effort we put in and are thankful for the outreach of their message makes what we do worth it.

2019 Princeton Chapter Lift For Life

Princeton Chapter announces annual Lift For Life to inspire the Rare Disease Community set for May 7


The Princeton Chapter of Uplifting Athletes will hold its annual Lift For Life to support the Rare Disease Community on Tuesday, May 7th.

Lift For Life is the signature fundraising event for the Princeton Chapter of Uplifting Athletes. Princeton is a part of Uplifting Athletes’ nationwide network of chapters led by college football student-athletes.

Each chapter embraces the mission of Uplifting Athletes by using college football as a platform to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope through the power of sport.

“Uplifting Athletes has given me a humbling and incredible opportunity to help give back to the community,” Princeton Chapter President and offensive lineman Luke Aschenbrand said. “Meeting rare disease patients who appreciate the effort we put in and are thankful for the outreach of their message makes what I do worth it.”

The 2019 Princeton Chapter Lift For Life will be a competition on the average number of 225-pound bench press competitions among the six fundraising teams. The event is open to the public and will start at 4:45 p.m. outside the Frist Campus Center

Fans and supporters can select any one of the six teams and make a pledge for the number of bench press repetitions that team averages. So choose your favorite 2019 Princeton player on any of the six Tigers’ Lift For Life teams and support them by visiting their 2019 Lift For Life site. You can also make a flat donation to any team.

The proceeds from the 2019 Lift For Life support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

Today, the challenges faced by the Rare Disease Community are bigger than any one individual, team or organization can tackle alone. The Princeton Chapter, along with a nationwide network of teams, is uniquely positioned to educate and engage the local community to shine a spotlight on rare diseases.

The Princeton Chapter started tackling rare diseases in 2011 when it joined Uplifting Athletes. The football student-athlete led Princeton Chapter serves the Rare Disease Community in honor of Jordan Culbreath, a former Tigers running back.

Culbreath was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder and battled through his rare disease diagnosis to return to the field and finish his playing career. His inspiring story of hope not only led his Princeton teammates to form a chapter, Culbreath was also honored as the 2011 Uplifting Athletes Rare Disease Champion.

Please support the Princeton Chapter and help the defending Ivy League champions reach their impressive $9,000 team Lift For Life goal.

2019 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign set new standards across the board


During a pivotal time in their football lives, more than 50 NFL prospects used their first opportunities as professional athletes to give back.

The Uplifting Athletes 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases showcased these athletes in a month-long campaign that kicked off in late February with the NFL Combine and ran through March with individual NFL Pro Day workouts.

This year Reps For Rare Diseases set a new standard in terms of the number of athletes participating, the funds raised and awareness generated to shine a spotlight on the Rare Disease Community.

It was an honor to work with 56 outstanding athletes from 21 college football programs across the country.  The 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign produced an overall audience of more than 10 million through social media and online news and raised nearly $45,000 to support the rare disease cause.

“Each one of our 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases participants stands out amongst their peers and really understands the position they are in to make a difference,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact and NFL veteran Brett Brackett said. “It’s refreshing to work with people that, in the midst of the biggest job interview of their lives, will take the time to think about how they can help someone else.

“Many thanks to all of our participants for helping those affected by rare diseases. I’m proud to work for an organization that makes it easy for athletes to use their platform to make a positive impact on the community.”

With the Rare Disease Community on their hearts and driving them to train harder, the 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases team performed at a very high level including a record 14 athletes exceeding their $1,000 fundraising goal.

Ryan Bates, Trace McSorley and Koa Farmer from Penn State, Nick Allegretti of Illinois, Western Michigan’s Jamauri Bogan, Michigan State’s Jon Reschke, Dom Bragalone from Lehigh, Chris Myarick of Temple, Notre Dame’s Drue Tranquill, Jake Collins and Blake Hance from Northwestern, Eric Dungey of Syracuse, Georgia Tech’s Will Bryan and Charlie Volker from Princeton all raised more than $1,000 each.

The proceeds from 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

This was the fifth consecutive year Uplifting Athletes empowered NFL prospects with the opportunity to use their platform to raise funds and awareness in support of the Rare Disease Community.

The first Reps For Rare Diseases campaign in 2015 was run by former Penn State and current Detroit Lions tight end Jesse James.

“Uplifting Athletes prides itself in helping athletes realize their potential to make a positive impact on the Rare Disease Community,” Brackett said. “Our Reps for Rare Diseases campaign is another unique example of this.”

44 NFL prospects join 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases campaign for NFL Pro Day workouts


For the fifth consecutive year, Uplifting Athletes is empowering NFL prospects with the opportunity to use their NFL Pro Day as a platform to give back by raising funds and awareness in support of the Rare Disease Community.

The Reps For Rare Diseases Campaign is one of the first opportunities for these athletes to create an impact using their platform as professional athletes. Uplifting Athletes is excited to work with these outstanding individuals to help them give back during this very pivotal time of their lives.

This year Uplifting Athletes currently has 44 players who chose to participate in Reps For Rare Diseases 2019 as part of their NFL Pro Day workout.

“We would like to thank all the athletes participating in Reps For Rare Diseases and wish all of our participants the best of luck in the pursuit of their professional careers,” Uplifting Athletes Director of Sports Impact and NFL veteran Brett Brackett said. “We believe this is a special group that stands out for the right reasons amongst their peers. Any NFL team would be lucky to have one of these men representing their organization.”

The Uplifting Athletes 2019 Reps For Rare Diseases Pro Day Team is comprised from 18 different college football programs.

Clayton Thorson, Flynn Nagel, Jake Collins, Blake Hance, Jordan Thompson, Jared McGee and Tommy Doles all hail from Northwestern. Representing NC State are A.J. Cole, Terronne Prescod, Steph Louis and Reggie Gallaspy, Jr. From Penn State its Koa Farmer, Nick Scott, Kyle Vasey and Jake Cooper. And Tyler Newsome, Miles Boykin, Julian Love, Sam Mustipher, Nic Weishar and Justin Yoon from Notre Dame.

The quartet from Princeton includes John Lovett, Cody Smith, Steve Carlson and Charlie Volker. Maryland has Brendan Moore and Ty Johnson. Representing Georgia Tech are Kyle Cerge-Henderson and Andrew Marshall, while Eric Dungey and Kielan Whitner come from Syracuse.

Alec Eberle and Derrick Kelly II come out of Florida State and Antonio Jackson and Lawrence Menyah played for Fordham.

Other schools representatives include: Nick Allegretti from Illinois, Clemson’s Milan Richard, Chris Myarick of Temple, Jon Reschke from Michigan State, Nick Giorgio of Springfield, Kansas’ Mavin Saunders, Jamauri Bogan of Western Michigan and Craig Reynolds from Kutztown.

Fans and supporters can become teammates of any one of our NFL Pro Day participants this year and help Uplifting Athletes Tackle Rare Diseases by simply making a pledge for every bench press repetition or each vertical/broad jump inch the player achieves.

Visit the Uplifting Athletes Reps For Rare Diseases 2019 team landing page, choose your favorite player and make your pledge today.

The proceeds from Reps For Rare Diseases support the mission of Uplifting Athletes and its charitable programs: Rare Disease Awareness, Rare Disease Research, Uplifting Experiences and Uplifting Leaders.

The first Reps For Rare Diseases campaign was run by former Penn State and current Detroit Lions tight end Jesse James.

Since James launched this program in 2015 other current NFL veterans such as Justin Watson (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Jason Cabinda (Oakland Raiders), Justin Jackson (San Diego Chargers), Mike McGlinchey (San Francisco 49ers), Mike Gesicki (Miami Dolphins), Josh Adams (Philadelphia Eagles), Malik Turner (Seattle Seahawks), Grant Haley (New York Giants), Anthony Zettel (Cleveland Browns), Andrew Billings (Cincinnati Bengals), Garrett Sickels (Los Angeles Rams), and Chad Kanoff (Arizona Cardinals) have used Reps For Rare Diseases as a platform to support the Rare Disease Community.

“Uplifting Athletes prides itself in helping athletes realize their potential to make a positive impact on the Rare Disease Community. Our Reps for Rare Diseases campaign is another unique example of this,” Brackett said.

Uplifting Athletes’ 10th Leadership Development Conference in Atlanta covered a lot of ground


The essential core of the Uplifting Leaders program is the college football student-athletes that steer our chapters at universities across the country.

This past weekend more than 40 individual leaders from 20 college football programs traveled to Atlanta for the 10th annual Leadership Development Conference.

The three-day conference was hosted by Uplifting Athletes, and run by Director of Sports Impact Brett Brackett, a former Penn State Chapter President who attended the inaugural conference in 2010.

“Uplifting Athletes is grateful to be engaged with such enthusiastic student-athletes motivated to leverage their platform for good,” Brackett said. “I am excited to see how this group of student-athletes takes the knowledge gained from the conference and uses the power of sport to inspire the Rare Disease Community with hope.”

Following a meet-and-greet team dinner Friday night, the conference kicked off Saturday morning with a full day of programming that was driven by Uplifting Athletes four program pillars – Uplifting Leaders, Uplifting Experiences, Rare Disease Awareness and Rare Disease Research.

Morning sessions covering the four programs were followed by a panel of former college football student-athletes sharing their stories and advice about making the transition from student-athlete to the professional world.

The lively and open discussion was spearheaded by panelists Pat Boyle, Drew Butler, Stephon Morris and Stephen Obeng-Agyapong.

“The conference was a great experience for me to learn more how to utilize my platform to impact the Rare Disease Community,” Penn State Chapter leader Sean Clifford said. “I am glad I had the opportunity to represent Penn State Football and grow as a leader.”

To kick off the afternoon, Uplifting Athletes Executive Director Rob Long shared his story about being a rare disease patient and how that shaped him to become a leader, advocate and difference maker for the Rare Disease Community.

Long’s hour-long presentation set the table for a tour of the College Football Hall of Fame and an Uplifting Experience where nearly 20 rare disease patients, caregivers and family members teamed up with the student-athletes.

“For me Leadership Development Conference 2019 was all about the people. You are surrounded with other college football players from all around the country and get to learn about their own connections with rare diseases and how much it affects us all,” Northwestern Chapter leader Joe Spivak said. “And then to be paired with a family going through the fight at the College Football Hall of Fame puts everything in that much more perspective.

“Those interactions, along with all the work with everyone from the Uplifting Athletes staff, showed me the true difference we can make in this community through the power of the sport we are all so blessed to be a part of.”

Gabe Low, a 17-year-old Hawaii native who was born with a rare genetic disorder, took center stage on Sunday to share his story about why he did the 3,500-mile Ride For Rare Diseases and talked about the impact of awareness created by using his platform.

The conference also featured sessions on Lift For Life and Touchdown Pledge Drive and next steps moving forward as these leaders prepare for 2019.

“If their attentiveness and commitment at the conference is any sign of what’s to come from this group of leaders … I believe 2019 could be something special,” Brackett said. “Their level of engagement leads me to believe we will see a high level of awareness and fundraising for the Rare Disease Community through Uplifting Athletes chapters across the country.”

Among the 20 schools that were represented in Atlanta, two of those are prospective Uplifting Athletes Chapters. Kent State and New Mexico had student-athletes attending for the first time.

Current Chapter leaders from Clemson, Colgate, Davidson, Florida State, Lehigh, NC State, Notre Dame, Penn State, Syracuse, Saint Francis, Penn, Northwestern, Maryland, Princeton, Stony Brook, Fordham and Western Michigan were also in attendance.

A special thank you to all our supporters who made this conference possible. With your help, these young men are making a difference in the Rare Disease Community.

A successful 2018 Year In Review


HappyHolidays-UAMay your days be filled with Peace, Hope and Joy this Holiday Season!

On behalf of the 30 million Americans that comprise the Rare Disease Community, our staff and team of college football student-athletes thank you for your loyalty and support in 2018!  It has been a memorable year and we thank you for helping us achieve our mission.

Most recently, our team was able to be a part of an Uplifting Experience in Seattle. Former University of Illinois and current Seattle Seahawks wide receiver, Malik Turner, hosted a rare disease patient family for the day at the Seahawks facility. Turner continued to build on that relationship during the NFL My Cause My Cleats campaign by securing tickets for ADNP patient Tony Sermone and his family for the game. One of his cleats had the initials “T” and “S” on the back in Tony’s honor. After the game Malik was able to present the signed cleat he wore in the game to Tony.

MALIK YEAR END GRAPHIC

Without your support this type of Uplifting Experience would not be possible. Would you consider making a year-end donation to Uplifting Athletes?

2018 also featured plenty of new and exciting milestones for Uplifting Athletes including:

-New Uplifting Athletes chapters established at Western Michigan, Davidson and Lehigh.

-38 NFL prospects participated in our Reps For Rare Diseases campaign during their NFL Combine and individual pro day workouts.

-Held our inaugural Young Investigator Draft in August at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia and scheduled our 2019 event for March 9th back at the home of the Philadelphia Eagles. The Young Investigator Draft is the result of our ongoing commitment to rare disease research. In 2018 we distributed six $10,000 grants to six individual researchers.

YID MAILCHIMP 1

-During the 2018 season, the first ever Rare Disease Awareness Games were held involving Uplifting Athletes Chapter match-ups between Syracuse vs. Western Michigan and Penn vs. Princeton. The chapters wore Uplifting Athletes helmets stickers, #WeTackleRare wristbands and recognized local rare disease patient families during a game break.

-We crowned Coach Joshua Eargle from Austin Peay State University as the 11th winner of the Rare Disease Champion Award – given to a leader in college football who has realized his or her potential to make a positive and lasting impact on the Rare Disease Community. We also enjoyed seeing our 10th winner of the award, Shaquem Griffin from UCF, selected in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Seattle Seahawks.

These are just a few of the 2018 highlights. We have bigger and bolder plans for 2019. As always, though, we need your help.

Please consider giving a gift to support the Rare Disease Community we serve. We can’t do any of this without you!

#WeTackleRare

Scott, Rob, Brett, John, Karen and Andy