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TEAM MOM: Do's and don't's for parents ■ SUMMER SPORTS CAMP GUIDE Part 2 ► Take One, It's FREE ►


life is active | MARch '14



Atlanta, GA Permit #2883




Newborn | Family | Children | Couples | Student | Sport | Commercial | | 770. 217. 0789


Saturday, March 15, 2014 11am-1pm Hudlow Tennis Center 2051 Old Rockbridge Road Norcross, GA 30071

World Tennis Day is on March

3rd and it is a celebration of tennis around the world. To celebrate during the month of March, we would like to invite families and kids of all ages and skill levels to try tennis at local events and facilities near you! Have fun, make friends and just FREE PLAY! It’s easy to find JUNIO places to play and TENNISR con- RACQU ET nects you to all the fun. Get playing today!

Jr. Team Tennis Open Registration & Play Event ■ Free Event ■ Snacks, Drinks & Goodie Bags ■ Free Junior Tennis Racquet when you attend this event, become a USTA member, and play USTA Jr. Team Tennis this summer (8U and 10U only) Email Tenesha Davis: or Jane Trinkle: to reserve your spot! Can’t attend the play event but want to register for USTA Jr. Team Tennis? Visit SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE MARCH 2014


First UP Events, Races and Programs in

the Next 45 Days

22 SPIRIT High School and Middle School 24 PARKS Gwinnett Parks and Recreation

Events and Programs

25 TEAM MOMS & DADS Tips, Recommendations and Advice 26 best seat in the house Highlighting the past month in pictures.

[ 9 ] Gwinnett Senior Golden Games [10] Sports ConcussionS Finally Facing the Elephant in the Room [13] Non-Contact Football A Popular Alternative Sport



lifE is activE | MARch '14


Giving Every Child a Chance


[20] the road less traveled Exceptional Kids Athletics, Inc


[16] Summer Sports Camp Part 2

Atlanta, GA Permit #2883

[14] Sports Medicine Guide



COVER CREDIT Cover: The front cover was created using several stock photo images manipulated in photoshop by Rico Figliolini and was inspired by Reg L. Carver's feature article sub title "Finally facing the elephant in the room." This page Archer High School Girls Basketball, at publication time heading to the GHSA State Championship Finals. Photography by Sonny Kennedy. More photos at our website.

SCAN THE QR CODE TO VISIT OUR WEBSITE AND ENTER OUR ONLINE CONTESTS! To get the app reader (i.e. ScanLife), visit your phone’s app store and search QR Code readers. sportsgwinnett


SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE MARCH 2014 sportsgwinnett sportsgwinnett sportsgwinnett

Emory Sports Fitness Camp at Emory University

The Emory University Sports Fitness Camp was founded in 1965 by members of the full-time teaching faculty in the Department of Physical Education. Their goal was to provide children with a fun and safe environment in which to foster a life-long appreciation for physical activity. Children today need this physical activity more than ever! Thousands of children have benefitted from the program over the last 50 years and former campers now bring their children and grandchildren to our camp.

Proudly Celebrating 50 Years of Camp!!!

Andre Moore, Camp Director 404-727-5200 SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE MARCH 2014



Clint Conley and Rico Figliolini C0-PUBLISHERS



Reg is a freelance writer and photographer from Johns Creek, Georgia. He is the author of Jazz Profiles: The Spirit of the Nineties (Billboard Books 1998), which was nominated for the Ralph J. Gleason Award for excellence in music writing. He is also the author of Walking Up Lombard: My Long Journey Home (AuthorHouse 2012), a memoir of his journey through major depression and healing. You can find him at


Reg L. Carver Joel Hillsman Matthew Quinn Tori Vogt Abby Wilkerson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Jonathan Phillips Kat Goduco Kathryn Nee Jeannine Smith Sonny Kennedy


Jonathan Phillips has been a professional, award-winning photojournalist for the past 13 years and the owner of JTPhotography . Jonathan was born and raised in Gwinnett County and has seen it change and grow into the bustling metropolitan area that it is today. You can visit his website at





Matthew W. Quinn is a freelance writer from Marietta, Ga. He is also associate editor of The Roswell Current and has edited a weekly newspaper and reported for a daily. An aspiring novelist, he has a book under consideration with two publishers. Crystal D. Garrett, has worked closely with major networks, optioned a television pilot to Warner Brothers, and collaborated with industry heavyweights. She has served as Head Writer for an independently financed sitcom. Her latest feature film was produced by the Viacom / BET Network.

Kathryn is a photographer and owner of Kathryn Nee Photography. An Atlanta area native, Kathryn has been photographing life as art for over fifteen years. Her portfolio can be viewed at Joel is a sports media freelancer covering high school and pro sports since 2009. He is play-by-play announcer and show host for high school football and basketball on NFHS Network covering the southeast and produces game highlights for NBA TV and Turner Sports.




Katherine is an IB Diploma student at Norcross High School. She is a member of the NHS Marching Band and Relay for Life Team.

Tori Vogt MBA is a professional writer and marketing executive based in Peachtree Corners.

Rico Figliolini Advertising Sales

Patti Leach Website Assistant

Katherine Macmanus

SPORTS360GROUP LLC 4305 River Stream Circle, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092 678.358.7858


A country girl at heart but metro Atlanta by address, Abby cultivated a lifelong love of sports and writing at the University of Georgia before moving to Gwinnett upon graduation. Abby is a pop culture lover, brakes for yard sales, and an unashamed basher of all non-SEC conferences.


Krystal Cox is mom to 3 girls and 1 boy who have played several sports as part of Shiloh Athletic Association and Gwinnett Angels Travel Softball program. She served as team mom for numerous teams. She has also served on the softball board and is travel program co-founder.


Coming Issues:

Sports Gwinnett Magazine is published once a month by SPORTS360GROUP LLC. Opinions expressed by the contributing writers and editors are not necessarily those of the publishers, editor or Sports Gwinnett. The publisher will not accept responsibility for submitted materials that are lost or stolen. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication. However, the publisher cannot assume responsibility for errors or omissions. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission.

APRIL 2014 Ad & Editorial Deadline: March 24, 2014

20 UNDER 40 Nominees for this cover story should be sent to

Š2014 SPORTS360GROUP LLC. The editors welcome submissions and photogrpahy. Please direct them to

Rico Figliolini and Clint Conley Co-Publishers



Please email about advertising deadlines and editorial considerations.


Gwinnett Braves to Hold National Anthem Auditions The Gwinnett Braves will hold open auditions for National Anthem singers on Saturday, March 8 from 10 AM to 2 PM at Coolray Field. Vocalists and vocal groups that are interested in attending the audition must fill out and return a registration form. Forms can be found online at

Volunteers Needed for the greater Gwinnett Championship Greater Gwinnett Championship, presented by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, is in need of volunteers for the 2014 event. This PGA Tour Champions Tour is in its second year and volunteers play a pivotal role in this event's success and we cannot do it without them! The event takes place from April 14th through the 20th. For more information and details on how to become a GGC volunteer visit

Mark O’Meara Will Play In Greater Gwinnett Championship Two-time major champion Mark O’Meara will play in the 2nd annual Greater Gwinnett Championship Presented by Mitsubishi Electric Cooling & Heating, an Official Event on the PGA TOUR’s Champions Tour. The tournament will be played April 14-20, 2014 at TPC Sugarloaf in Duluth, GA. He joins the previously committed Tom Kite and defending champion Bernhard Langer along with 78 other legends of golf will be competing for a total purse of $1.8 million and a first place check of $270,000.

Atlanta roller girls The Atlanta Rollergirls, the subject of an upcoming Sports Gwinnett article, was a founding member of the Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA), took shape in November 2004, when Angela Ward, a.k.a. Tanya Hyde, put a call out to strong, athletic women to join her in bringing Roller Derby to the Dirty South. The sport, once on par with the theatrics of professional wrestling, evolved to become an all-female, full-contact sport that’s writing a new chapter in athletic history. Though not based in Gwinnett several of the roller girls practice and live in the county. Check out their site for more information http://www. Plus visit SportsGwinnett to see Reg L. Carver's SportsShorts video interview with Nutella Ferrero and Hate Ashbury

Southeastern Railway Museum Georgia’s Official Transportation History Museum

Ride Into History Explore historic locomotives and railroad cars Ride a restored caboose or a nostalgic park train Host an unforgettable party aboard a vintage train car

3595 Buford Hwy., Duluth, Georgia | | 770-476-2013 SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE MARCH 2014



Events, Races and Programs in the Next 45 Days

Race Calendar

Entire course will be run on a wide paved path around a gorgeous scenic park. Well stocked aid station at the start/finish area. Generic tech shirt and medal to all finishers.

Mar 9, 2014 - Snellville

Mar 29, 2014 - Lawrenceville

Rock The New Moon Half Marathon, 10K & 5K at Lenora Park March 7-30th at the Alliance Theatre


Exclusive offer for Sports Gwinnett Magazine fans, save $5 with promo code SG5 on ticket purchases* to see The Tall Girls at the Alliance Theatre. A gritty-depression era sports drama, The Tall Girls tells the story of the Dust-Bowl Midwest where the success of a girls’ basketball team may be the only way to a better life for the team’s members. A world premiere by Meg Miroshnik (The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls), The Tall Girls is at the Alliance Theatre March 7 – 30. For tickets and more information visit * Not valid on previously purchased tickets or in combination with any other offer. Subject to availability.

March 8 – 9, 2014

2014 SEC Women's Basketball Tournament

Location: Arena at Gwinnett Center 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097

March 14, 2014

Gwinnett Gladiators vs. South Carolina Stingrays

Location: Arena at Gwinnett Center 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Duluth, GA 30097


The entire course will be run on a wide paved path through a beautiful park. Well stocked aid station at the start/finish area. Generic tech shirt and medal to all finishers.

Mar 15, 2014 - Suwanee

Suwanee Kiwanis 4th Annual Shamrock 5K

Running [5K], Walking - Suwaee Town Center Pre-registration is $25 on or before March 5th. Cost from March 6th to race day is $30. PACKET PICKUPPick up packet day of race, beginning at 7:00am

March 15, 2014 - Buford

Fallen Heroes of Georgia

Lake Lanier Islands Resort 7000 Lanier Islands Parkway, Buford , GA 30518 Registration Closing Date: Monday, March 10, 2014 @ 2:59 AM (EDT) The honors and remembers Georgia's fallen soldiers who died while serving their country in the Global War on Terror. Signs individually representing each of the 214 Fallen Soldiers will line the start/finish area to further emphasize just how many have given their last full measure for our country.

Mar 23, 2014 - Dacula

Running Harbins Half Marathon at Harbins Park


Gwinnett Medical Center Obesity Awareness 5K Walk/ Run at Tribble Mill Park Raising Obesity Awareness. Changing Lives. More than 93 million Americans are affected by the disease of obesity.

Mar 29, 2014 - Sugar Hill

White Oak Elementary

Course starts and finishes at the White Oak Elementary School. From the school it runs down Buford Dam Road and along the beautiful shores of Lake Lanier.

Mar 29, 2014 - Dacula

Java Jog 5K/10K

Starts in front of Dooley's Southern Stone Pizza Kitchen, Dacula, GA Running [5K, 10K], Walking 4th Annual Event... race shirts, custom awards in 5 year age groups, FREE Coffee.

Mar 29, 2014 - Suwanee

Spring Into Color 5K Dash Running [5K], Distance running - Suwanee Town Center. Run, Walk, Crawl, or cartwheel if you wish, your way through a bombardment of color and find yourself wearing a COLORFUL Dash of spring colors when you reach the finish line. Have a blast and benefit some awesome charities in the process!

Gwinnett Senior Golden Games

Gwinnett Senior Golden Games offer senior athletes in Gwinnett and other counties 35 different events to improve their physical and mental fitness and to socialize with other seniors.



enior athletes in Gwinnett and communities nearby looking for competition and making new friends will have a chance to do both in this year’s Gwinnett Senior Golden Games. Overseeing the games this year is Alan Villavasso of Grayson, who first participated in 2008 and has served as president for the last three years. He said the Gwinnett Senior Golden Games are not part of the Georgia Golden Olympics but are more local in focus. “We have a few athletes that participate with us from other counties, but they’re from counties close to Gwinnett,” he said. This year’s games will have 35 events, including the football toss, bowling, several different types of swimming, horseshoes, archery, and even Rummikub and bridge. “We wanted to give the athletes a wellrounded choice,” he said. “We try to have a little something for everybody.” Villavasso himself has done every event the games offer except for 18-hole golf, rummikub, and bridge. The most popular events each year are bowling, swimming, and shuffleboard, with the basketball toss, darts, croquet, and “Holey-Board” (cornhole) being favorites as well. Opening ceremonies will be April 2 at 10:30 a.m. at the Rhodes Jordan Gymnasium on East Crogan Street in Lawrenceville. Competition begins the next day and will continue through May 8. Several different venues will host events this year. Delmar Gardens of Gwinnett in Lawrenceville will host putting, while Garden Plaza in Lawrenceville will host croquet. The Collins Hill Golf Club in Lawrenceville will host 18-hole golf. Closing ceremonies will take place at 11 a.m. at Rhodes Jordan. The events are divided by gender and by age. The youngest age bracket is 50-54 years old, with three to four participants in the 2013 games being in their 90s. The competition can be quite

Left: Linda Lowery Below: Peg O'Toole Right: Alan Villavasso Photos Courtesy GSGG

year, since it’s like a family reunion. He encourages all seniors to participate. “It’s a good way to keep you healthy,” he said. It’s also a great way to make new friends. intense— participants have judged their own performances not only against members of their own age bracket but members of others.

The general public is welcome to attend. Participation is $15 for Gwinnett residents and $30 for out-of-county participants. The deadline to sign up is March 7. Those who want to find more information about the games or to sign up can visit

“Friendship, fellowship, and competition, that’s our motto,” Villavasso said. The first games in 2000 had 76 participants in 15 events. The number participating has grown dramatically over the years—Villavasso said a typical year has around 300 participants. Participating in this year’s games are Bud Kushman of Lilburn, an at large member of the games’ board, and his wife Ginny. The Kushmans have been part of the Gwinnett Senior Golden Games for nearly a decade. They’d participated in bowling and tennis as part of the Georgia Golden Olympics, traveling as far as Alabama and Kentucky to compete. They’d wanted to do more and learned about the local games. In the past they’d participated in walking and singles, doubles, and mixed doubles bowling and tennis. They’d earned medals most of the time but not always—it depends on whom they’re competing with. This year Bud will do bowling only since his knee hasn’t fully recovered from surgery but Ginny will do bowling and tennis.. “It’s a real good time,” he said. “We get to meet a lot of people.”

Celebrating 10 Years of Supporting School Sports

Catering parties, sports banquets and events on premise in two event spaces. 835 Lawrenceville/Suwanee Road Lawrenceville Georgia 30043 770-339-0909 www.ottavern. com

Some of these people he sees only once a SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE MARCH 2014


Sports Concussions Finally Facing The Elephant In The Room




offered valuable information. The issue of concussions is complex and no one article can possibly answer all questions one may have. But we hope this will offer an overview of issues one should consider regarding the prevention and treatment of concussions, and also links for more information related to specific issues and needs.

irst, the bad news – due to the increase in the competitiveness and brutality in a variety of sports, concussions are on the rise. (See “Youth Sports and Sports Related Injuries [Infograph- WHAT IS A CONCUSSION? ic]” – February 18, 2014 - www. The word “concussion” is used a lot these days. In the past, athletes used to use youth-sports-sports-related-in- terms like having their “bell rung” or “feeljuries-infographic/.) But, at the ing dazed” after a play. But these terms are not used much anymore. same time, there is Now, immediately after a plethora of good a hard hit or collision news. At no time in sports, the concern is before the present whether the athlete has has the issue been suffered a concussion – and whether it is mild, on the minds of routine, or severe. so many people – athletes, parents, Emory Healthphysicians, and care’s Dr. Mathew W. Pombo, Director of trainers, among Emory Sports Concusothers. At no time sion Program, notes that has there been a concussion is “a brain more information injury and is defined as available about a complex pathologithe prevention cal process affecting the and treatment of brain induced by direct concussions. And or indirect biomechaniDr. David Marshall there is arguably cal forces that may or no area in the MAY NOT result in a loss of consciousness. Resolusoutheastern United States with as much state-of- tion of the clinical and cognitive symptoms the-art and comprehensive treat- resulting from a concussion typically follows ment for concussions than in the a sequential course and should be individualized to each patient accordingly. However, it Gwinnett County area. is important to note that in some cases, post-

For this article, SG was granted wideranging access to Gwinnett Medical Center – Duluth – Concussion Institute, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory Healthcare. All facilities and their doctors SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE MARCH 2014

concussive symptoms may be prolonged.”

Gwinnett Medical Center’s Dr. Marla Shapiro adds that a concussion “causes an energy crisis in the brain that causes the

"There is no single kind of specialist, or treatment, that can manage all aspects of all concussions, but all symptoms can be treated – and remediated – with skilled, comprehensive care."

– Marla B. Shapiro, Ph.D. – Chief Neuropsychologist at Gwinnett Medical Center Duluth – Concussion Institute sport such as football, ice hockey, boxing, using in-line skates or riding a skateboard, batting and running bases in baseball or softball, riding a horse, and when skiing or snowboarding.

cognitive, emotional, physical and/or sleeprelated symptoms that may be reported or observed.” And, with respect to other symptoms, Dr. David Marshall, Medical Director of the Sports Medicine Program at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, states that symptoms of a concussion may also include (but are not limited to) headaches, clear drainage from the nose or ear, scalp swelling, neck pain, not being able to think clearly or remember things, not being able to recognize people or places, and slurred speech.

All that said, a physician should be consulted any time a person is not thinking or

Adds Dr. Shapiro: •

Sports Safety – including wearing the right protective equipment for the activity (helmets, padding, shin guards, and eye and mouth guards). All protective equipment should fit properly, be well maintained and be worn consistently and correctly. Appropriate

coaching and supervision . . and good sportsmanship. And Dr. Pombo notes:

Dr. Marla Shapiro

acting like himself or herself.

ARE CONCUSSIONS PREVENTABLE? Unfortunately, concussions will never be completely preventable. However, there are steps that athletes and parents can take to reduce the risk of suffering concussions. Following are a few bullet points provided by Dr. Marshall: •

Helmet Safety – including when riding a bike, motorcycle, snowmobile, scooter or all-terrain vehicle. Helmets should always be worn when playing a contact

• The best prevention mechanism is education regarding the signs and symptoms of a concussion to increase our diagnosis of this injury. . . . Another area of prevention is to increase the education in our sporting arenas. Better officiating at recreation and high school sporting events will ensure a decrease in illegal contact that can contribute to this injury. . . . But a global education program in ALL areas of sport on multiple fronts are necessary if we are to lower the incidence of concussions and attempt “true” prevention of this injury.

sudden onset of the symptoms mentioned above, plus any time headaches worsen, seizures, when looking very drowsy and can’t be awakened, weakness or numbness in arms or legs, repeated vomiting, increased confusion, significant irritability, and loss of consciousness.

TREATMENTS FOR CONCUSSIONS The doctors Sports Gwinnett interviewed agreed that, in general, most concussions can be treated successfully. It is of utmost importance, however, that a patient seek and obtain appropriate treatment, which typically involves a protocol of varying types of treatment to restore physical and cognitive normalcy. Dr. Shapiro says, “There is definitely no one-size-fits all approach. Recommended treatments are based on the symptoms and the context of the individual’s life. We [Gwinnett Medical Center] provide individualized accommodation plans and work with schools so that students can return to the classroom and their social lives as quickly as possible without symptom recurrence or exacerbation. Vestibular therapy is provided to individuals with persistent vestibular deficits that do not spontaneously improve, and vision therapy is sometimes necessary as well. Short-term psychotherapy can be provided to facilitate general stress management or help individuals to know how to take charge of their own behavior in order to promote recovery. . . . Medication management – typically provided by neurologists with expertise in concussion

WHEN TO SEEK MEDICAL TREATMENT It is always best to seek medical treatment when an athlete or parent believes it is appropriate. In addition, Dr. Shapiro notes that one “should seek immediate help – go to the nearest emergency department” – with

The TRAZER used by Gwinnett Medical Center monitors balance and physical endurance through high definition lens.



management – can also be helpful in managing concussion-related migraines and mood issues. Cognitive remediation can also be provided to individuals with persistent neurocognitive impairments . . . .Education and increased awareness before the injury are also essential so that families can seek appropriate care. Dr. Marshall offers some specific treatment information: •

“Rest, both cognitive (for the brain) and physical (for the body), is the best treatment. This type of rest can be frustrating and seem long, but is needed to help your child heal.”

“Keep surroundings calm and quiet.”

“Be sure to keep your child’s doctor appointments, even if he is feeling better. Your doctor can track your child’s recovery and safe return to normal activities.”

“Limit thinking activities like reading, school work, electronic games, talking on the phone and watching TV. Limit screen time to no more than 2 hours a day. This includes TV, video games, computers and cell phones. Stop and rest any time that symptoms get worse.” “Use the chart below to make sure your child’s brain has time to rest and heal after a concussion. Doctors call this a ‘cognitive rest.’

with a small group is OK as long as it is not too noisy or too exciting.

 Do things that need focus or a lot of thinking

activity, academic activity, and social activity to properly prevent the devastating short and long-term consequences that have come to light as a result of prior treatment strategies. The field of concussions is progressing so fast and I’m glad that Emory Healthcare and our team of physicians and researchers are continuing to contribute to each athlete’s safe return to play."

 Play loud music


 Send or read text messages

As long as there are athletes who play sports, there will be concussions. But much progress has been made in recent years regarding awareness, education (for doctors and the general public), and treatment. Therefore, addressed properly, almost all concussions will have no long-term impact on any athlete.

Do NOT let your child do these things:  Read difficult books or do word puzzles

 Have too many visitors  Play violent video games  Play loud video games with action and flashing lights  Use a computer for more than 30 minutes at a time  Watch TV shows with action, loud noise or that need your child to focus.” Finally, Dr. Pombo notes, “The most important thing initially is to stress the importance of avoiding activities with risks of concussion and prevent any further head injury. . . . Once the athlete/individual is asymptomatic at rest a gradual return to school and social activities that does not result in significant exacerbation of symptoms is allowed. This is followed by a step-wise return to play strategy per Emory’s return to play guidelines.

Children will play – in general and in sports. And serious athletes will never really be deterred from intense competition. So let your children play. And let your athlete compete. As a parent, just make sure to educate yourself (and your child at the appropriate stages and ages) as much as possible. These are the most important steps one can take to allow our children and athletes to do what they love most. Reg L. Carver is a writer and photographer in Johns Creek, Georgia. You may find him at

SOME FINAL THOUGHTS Your child may do these things:  Read easy books  Rest in a quiet room without bright lights  Listen to music at a low volume  Do simple arts and crafts  Have short visits with 1 or 2 friends  Play easy card games and board games that do not need much focus, such as UNO or Go Fish  Play non-violent video games that do not need physical activity  Use the computer for a short time to check social media sites, such as Facebook  Watch TV shows that do not need much focus, such as cartoons or comedies. Watching sports on TV


SG asked each doctor what, in general, he or she would like the public to know about concussions. A portion of Dr. Shapiro’s is provided in the quote at the beginning of this article. Dr. Marshall responded that “Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta advocated and actively lobbied for the Return-to-Play Act. Governor Nathan Deal signed the bill into law during a ceremony at our Scottish Rite hospital on April 23, 2013. [The law took effect January 1, 2014.] The law includes developing returnto-play policies for young athletes who show signs of a concussion and educating parents on the risks of concussions. We have details on our website . . . ." As for Dr. Pombo, he noted, “Concussions are no longer treated like an ankle sprain as we did 15 years ago. This is a complex injury that requires a multidisciplinary approach that provides an individualized treatment plan for each patient. Young athletes need significant modifications to their physical


Important Links: For more information, there are many links where you can find valuable and more specific information. Below are just a few available: Gwinnett Sports Med Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Emory Healthcare conditions/head/concussions.html USA Football



Youth Recreation, Club and Athletic Associations

Non-contact football a popular option in Gwinnett Interested in football for your child but concerned about the risk of concussions? There are plenty of non-contact football options to be had in Gwinnett County. by MATTHEW W. QUINN


arents looking for football options in Gwinnett County but fearful of concussions and other injuries have lots of flag- and touch-football options.

Norcross Youth Athletic Association President Lamont Williamson said the group had two different non-contact football programs. The first program is flag football for boys between four and 10 years old. It’s normal flag football play with some rushing and passes. For children older than 10, the NYAA offers seven-on-seven. It’s more akin to football played in high school—it uses high school passing rules. There is no running under-center — the focus is on passing the ball, although participants can certainly run once they catch the ball. Williamson explained that the different rules are there due to different skill levels. Younger kids aren’t going to be able to pass the ball more than four or five yards, but older kids won’t have that problem. “It’s to develop the skill level of the quarterbacks and the receivers,” he said. He compared it to baseball — younger kids hit off the tee because they’re not skilled enough to hit a ball thrown by a pitcher. The NYAA has offered both types of football since 2009. The program has grown dramatically since then. It started out with one team and 15 players and now has 100 kids. “We’re very competitive,” he said. “Our sixyear-olds won two championships this past season. We had a ten-year old team finish second when we participated in the Metro Atlanta Flag Football League, a league of teams from Dekalb, Atlanta, Fulton, and throughout the Metro Area. The seventh-grade team traveled to Woodstock, GA and placed second out of 14 teams, from all around the state, in Sequoyah's Hickory Flat

7-on-7 Tournament.” The eighth grade players have won regional tournaments as well.

the game of football before we initiate physical contact,” Rowe said.

Due to growing interest, the NYAA is networking with other sports organizations. Along with other Gwinnett-area teams it has joined the North Atlanta Flag Football League. To expand participants' playing opportunities still further, it has also joined the Georgia 7-on-7 Passing League. This league includes players from DeKalb, North Paulding, South Forsyth, Sequoyah, and even South Atlanta.

The goal is to prevent injury by making sure participants have a better understanding of the game. Although the SAA flag program is a feeder for its tackle program, it also provides youth uncomfortable with full-contact football the chance to play. Rowe has not seen an influx of players abandoning tackle football for flag football, but he did note many baseball players have signed up to play. In contrast, many tackle football players play only tackle football.

“It’s the only seven-on-seven league in town,” he said. When asked if greater awareness of concussions has led to more interest in non-contact football, Williamson said there might be some. However, since there is only around a 20 percent overlap between the kids who play tackle football and the kids who play flag or touch, there isn’t a large migration from tackle into non-contact. However, there are kids who use flag or touch football as a training regimen for tackle football later in the year as well as kids who aren’t sure about football who use non-contact versions to ease in. Practice for this year’s NYAA season begins in mid-March, with the first game March 29. The flag football season will last until May 3, while the touch football season will last until the end of May. The seven-on-seven passing tournament is in June and for the eighth graders only, the Patsy Jones Gwinnett Football League Seven-on-Seven Tournament is in July. That event will feature 20 to 25 teams from all 19 Gwinnett athletic associations. It also serves as a kickoff to the GFL tackle football season. Another organization offering flag football is the Shiloh Athletic Association, which offered it for the first time last year. The South Gwinnett Athletic Association inspired Football Coordinator Darryl Rowe to create the program. “We’re just trying to get kids acclimated with

102 kids participated in the 2013 season. During the first week of sign-ups for the 2014 season alone, around 30 kids signed up. “We are definitely looking to grow the program,” Rowe said. Players in the SAA flag league start as young as four and can be as old as 12. The tackle league is for children six to 13. The SAA flag football season will begin in March, with the first game March 23. The season will run through May 4. Like the NYAA, it is part of the North Atlanta Flag Football League.

Important Links: Norcross Youth Athletic Association Registration Open Now Shiloh Athletic Association First Registration March 22 i9Sports Duluth Youth Athletic Association First Registration March 22 South Gwinnett Athletic Association Registration Opens March 23 Lawrenceville Youth Association Registration Now Open



sports medicine guide This is an abbreviated guide of practices and organizations in Gwinnett. If you’ve find that we have omitted practices working with schools or other youth organizations please feel free to update us by emailing:, subject line “Sports Medicine Guide” Practice Name Type of Practice Address Academy Orthopedics in Duluth

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

3540 Duluth Park Ln. NW. Suite 220. Duluth, GA 30096

Academy Orthopedics in Buford

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

3929 Carter Rd. Building C. Buford, GA 30518

Atlanta Center for Athletes

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

5805 State Bridge Rd. Suite 377. Johns Creek, GA 30097

Atlanta Orthopedics

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

545 Old Norcross Rd. Suite 300. Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Atlanta Rehabilitation & Performance Center

Sports Medicine/ Physical Therapy

2108 Teron Trace. Suite 200. Dacula, GA 30019

Breslow Chiropractic Clinic Sports Medicine/ Chiropractic 3500 Duluth Park Ln. NW. Suite 810. Duluth, GA 30096 Children’s Healthcare at Suwanee

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

3640 Burnett Rd. Suwanee, GA 30024

Children’s healthcare at Duluth

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

2270 Duluth Highway 120, Suite 200, Duluth, GA 30037

Children’s Healthcare at Snellville

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

2220 Wisteria Drive, Snellville, GA 30078

Children’s Healthcare at Hamilton Mill

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

2108 Eron Trace, Suite 200, Dacular, GA 30019

Dekalb Medical

Sports Medicine

2801 N. Decatur Road Suite 200 Decatur, GA 30033

Dr. David S. Ficco

Sports Medicine/ Chiropractic

3550 Lawrenceville Suwanee Rd. Suite 112. Suwanee, GA 30024

Dr. JiMong’s Miracle Acupuncture

Sports Medicine/ Acupuncture

2550 Pleasant Hill Rd. Suite 417. Duluth, GA 30096

Dr. Robert J. Guerreso

Sports Medicine

1730 Lawrenceville Suwanee Rd. Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Elite Sports Medicine

Sports Medicine/ Physical Therapy

2914 Vinson Ct. Buford, GA 30518

Elite Sports Medicine

Sports Medicine/ Physical Therapy

2085 Hamilton Mill Rd. Dacula, GA 30019

Georgia Knee and Sports Medicine

General Orthopedics

2801 North Decatur Rd.Suite 200 Decatur, GA 30033

Georgia Spine and Sports Rehab

Sports Medicine/ Chiropractic

4271 S. Lee St. Suite 201. Buford, GA 30518

Georgia Sports Medicine Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine/ Phy Ther 3625 Braselton Hwy. Suite 206. Dacula, GA 30019

Georgia Sports Medicine at The Longstreet Clinic Orthopedics/Sports Medicine/Phy Ther 6340 Sugarloaf Pkwy #375 Duluth, GA Gwinnett Medical Center

Sports Medicine

1000 Medical Center Boulevard, Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Gwinnett Medical Center Athletic Training 3620 Howell Ferry Road
Duluth, GA 30096


Gwinnett Orthopedics and Sports Medicine of Georgia

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

3855 Pleasant Hill Rd. Suite 470. Duluth, GA 30096

NGPG Sports Medicine Buford (AKA Sports Medicine)

Sports Medicine

4889 Golden Pkwy. Suite 100. Buford, GA 30518


Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

5955 State Bridge Rd. Suite 200. Johns Creek, GA 30097


Physical Therapy

771 Old Norcross Road, Suite 390 Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Peachtree Orthopedic Clinic

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

3870 Pleasant Hill Rd #1, Duluth, GA 30096

Pediatric Orthopedic Assoc.

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

575 Professional Dr. Suite 550. Lawrenceville, GA 30045

Performance Orthopedic and Sports Medicine

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

771 Old Norcross Rd. Suite 155. Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Physicians Immedicate Medicine

Sports Medicine

3720 Holcomb Bridge Rd. Norcross, GA 30092

ProHealth Integrated

Sports Medicine/ Chiropractic/ Phy Ther

1431 Riverside Pkwy. Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Resurgens Orthopedics

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine

758 Old Norcross Rd. Suite 100. Lawrenceville, GA 30046

Salyers Chiropractic

Sports Medicine/ Chiropractic/Phy Ther

4995 Lanier Islands Pkwy. Buford, GA 30518

Sports Medicine South

Orthopedics/ Sports Medicine/ Phy Ther

1900 Riverside Pkwy. Lawrenceville, GA 30043

Suwanee Family Physicians

Sports Medicine

960 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suwanee, GA 30024


Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Sports Medicine Website School Affiliation (IF ANY) 404-785-6880

Programs and services include:

• • • • • • • • •

Chattahoochee Cougars, John’s Creek Gladiators, Berkmar Patriots, Northview High

Gwinnett locations include Duluth, Snellville and Suwanee. Opening in Dacula in June. (addresses below)

Collins Hill High School, Grayson High School

Children’s at Duluth 2270 Duluth Highway 120, Suite 200 Duluth, GA 30097

Children’s at Snellville 2220 Wisteria Drive Snellville, GA 30078

ACL injury prevention Concussion Dance medicine Running Motion analysis Sports nutrition Sports physical therapy Swimming Wrestling weight management

Children’s at Suwanee 3640 Burnette Rd Suwanee, GA 30024

Parkview High School, Archer High School

Dacula High, North Gwinnett High, Flowery Branch High, Lanier High

Dacula High, North Gwinnett High, Flowery Branch High, Lanier High

Children’s at Hamilton Mill OPENING JUNE 2013 2108 Teron Trace, Suite 200 Dacula, GA 30019

Chattahoochee High, Duluth High,Peachtree Ridge High, Mountain View High,

Chattahoochee High

Duluth High School

Flowery Branch High, Davis Middle

Brookwood High, Mountain View High, Norcross High

Chattahoochee High






Part Two: Guide for Summer’s Sports and Recreational Day & Away Camps ast issue covered summer sports day camps in and around Gwinnett County. This is issue is mainly away camp listings with additional highlights to local area sports day camps.

►Cycling Camp Frazier at King College Bristol, TN Camp Frazier July 13-18, 2014 Junior Road Cycling Camp King University, Bristol TN Camp Frazier is designed for junior road cyclists, aged 10-18, who are serious about improving cycling and racing skills. The camp is run by Frazier Cycling and King University Cycling Program. Located in the foothills of the Smokey Mountains, the camp offers excellent cycling routes, cycle friendly-roads with low traffic, and beautiful countryside. The camp is open to parents and junior coaches. For information contact Cathy Frazier,, 770-513-8640,

►Baseball Coach Clint Conley-PCBC 2014 Baseball Camps Peachtree Corners/Norcross, GA

Baseball Camp June 23-25, 9:00AM -1:00PM, $150 Ages: 5-13 Baseball Camp will be led by Coach Clint Conley, a private instructor at NSTA (Norcross Sports Training Academy) and a trainer/advisor for recreation, all-stars, and travel teams from Norcross, North Gwinnett, Duluth, and Peachtree Ridge; Coach Conley is also the pitching coach and special advisor for the Georgia Stars tournament teams and the Home-schooled Gwinnett Barons. Campers will learn basic drills and fundamentals of fielding, throwing and hitting. Each camper will receive a T-shirt at the end of the week. Bonus Pitchers and Catchers Day, June 26, 9:00AM - 1:00PM, $50 Coach Conley will be working with pitchers and catchers only, working on their skills and mechanics on the mound and behind the plate. Baseball Camp II July 9-11, 9:00AM -1:00PM $150 Ages : 5-13 Baseball Camp will be led by Coach Clint Conley, a private instructor at NSTA (Norcross Sports Training Academy) and a trainer/advisor for recreation, all-stars, and travel teams from Norcross, North Gwinnett, Duluth, and Peachtree Ridge; Coach Conley is also the pitching coach and special advisor for the Georgia Stars tournament teams and the Home-schooled Gwinnett Barons. Campers will learn basic drills and fundamentals of fielding, throwing and hitting. Each camper will receive a T-shirt at the end of the week.

Stone Mountain Golf Course Junior Camps & Kiddie Kamps Kiddie Kamps - ages 5-8 - $75.00 Tuesday-Thursday - 9:00am-11:00am June 9-11 - July 8-10 - July 22-24 Junior Camps - ages 8-15 - $200.00 Monday-Friday - 9:00am-12:00pm June 9-13th - June 23-27th - July 14-18th - July 28-August 1 Come get in the swing with our Golf Camps! Camps lead by LPGA/US Kids certified professional Heidi Mitchell. We will focus on fitness, fun and golf. For full details on our camps and to register visit or contact Heidi Mitchell at or 678-637-2802.



4480 Peachtree Corners Circle, Norcross, GA 30092 For More information contact Coach Clint Conley, 770-329-6094

►Equestrian The Equestrian Reserve Johns Creek, GA

Great looking facility. Check their website for summer camps. COLORADO ADVENTURE CAMPS are being offered this summer. Horseback Riding, Rafting, Hiking and more! Pick one July 15-19 Mon-Fri or July 21-25 Sun-Thurs. Cost is $1125 per person + airfare (approx. $350). Day Camps include: Western Riding, Jumping Camps, Georgia Adventure Camp (includes hiking, tubing and trail riding), lots more. 739 Old Alpharetta Rd, Alpharetta, GA 30005 For information visit www. or call 770 205-1230.

►Gymnastics/ Cheerleading Top Notch Training Center Peachtree Corners, GA

TNT's core program is a multilevel, multi-track gymnastics program. They also offer a wide variety of other classes - some designed to complement and enhance a gymnast's training, some, such as tumbling for cheer and sports conditioning, TNT recently added a Parkour program for kids as well. For more information visit or call (770) 416-1881 3145 Northwoods Pkwy, Norcross, GA 30071

Georgia Gymnastics Academy Suwanee, GA

Ages 4 and up. Age 3 may attend select dates. May 28-August 2. One-week sessions. 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Half day available. Gymnastics, games, movies, inflatables, outdoor water play. | $145-200/week. 145 Old Peachtree Rd., Suwanee. 770-945-3424.

Gwinnett Gymnastics Lilburn, GA

Day camps ( AGES 4-13, 4 yr olds 1/2 Day) HalfDay, Full-Day and 1-Week sessions. Activities include: Gymnastics, Trampoline, Zip Lines

and Trapeze. 927 Killian Hill Rd., Lilburn, GA 30047 (770) 921-5630 www.gwinnettgymnasticscenter. com


Stone Mountain Junior Golf Camp Stone Mountain, GA

1145 Stonewall Jackson Drive, Stone Mountain, GA 30083 For information please reach Heidi Mitchell, at 678-637-2802, or heidimitchellgolf@

TGA Premier Junior Golf Camp Duluth, GA

Girls and boys ages 5-13 all skill levels Half Day, Full Day with Early Drop Off and/or Late Pick Up Available Dates: June 2 – August 1, one week sessions For more information visit, or call 404-855-1090 Peachtree Golf Center 2833 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard Duluth, GA 30096



Camp All-American Johns Creek, GA

Voted best summer day camp by local publications, Camp All-American is in their 25th summer offering world class facilities that include more than 100 secure acres loaded full of fun: 11 acre wilderness and ropes course area contains over 1 mile of zip lines, giant swings and one thrill after the other, pristine athletic fields, tennis courts, water complex, putting green, and over 300,000 square feet of air conditioned space! They run a variety of sports including: volleyball, self-defense, tennis, lacrosse, football, soccer and more. Rates run at $219 per week (5-Days), from May 28 – August 2, hours 9am-4pm camp Johns Creek, 678.405.2266


WOW SUMMER and Spring Break Day Camp

Duluth, GA

Simply the Best Day Camp in Gwinnett

Inflatables, Zip Lines, Foam Pits, Trampolines, Swimming and More

Facilities are Colorful, Clean, and Air Conditioned

Tavani Soccer Camps Ages 4-15. June 16-July 19. One-week sessions. Elite Camp noon-1:30 p.m. Elite Sessions (more competitive) Tavani Junior (intro to soccer) 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. Personal player evaluation. $75-160/week Bunten Road Park, Duluth Jefferson Park, Jefferson 770-396-8258. 770-396-8258

• Weekly Themes and Energetic Staff • Daily Fun Gymnastics, Exercise and Open your Imagination Time!

Classic Soccer Academy Dacula, GA

• Activities Guaranteed to make your child sleep well at night!

Holding Camps at Rabbit Hill Park and Hoschton Park June and July - Developmental Camp & Goalkeeper Academy July Only - Advanced Academy Camp & College Prep Camp Ages 4 and Up 706-693-2645

Gwinnett Gymnastics Center

►Gwinnett Park Summer Camps

927 Killian Hill Rd., Lilburn, GA 30047 (770) 921-5630 ■

Summer Camp Marketplace tavani soccer camps are back for their 12th year. Our camps are for all skill levels players. Boys & girls ages 4-15. monday-Friday at Bunten rd park, Duluth and Davis in Dunwoody.

Summer Camps at Various Gwinnett Parks and Aquatic Centers Gwinnett County, GA

Summer Day Camps: ages 4-14, camps feature art, swimming, dance, games, outdoor exploration, and many other fun activities. Tennis Camp: all levels welcome. Tennis offerings include league play, junior tournaments, classes, camps, lessons and team coaching. Call 770-417-2210 for information.


1-Week Golf Sessions

Girls/boys ages 5-13 all skill levels Half & Full Days, Early Drop-off Late Pick-ups Available June 2 – August 1, 2014, email or call 404-855-1090

All Sports Youth Camps

Camps include: Basketball, Baseball/Softball Camp, Recreational/ Sports Camps, Soccer Camp, Cheerleading Camp, Lacrosse Camp. Camps are held at various Gwinnett County Park locations. Check the county website www. or http://www. or call 770-822-8840

Peachtree Golf Center (next to The Hooch Golf Club) 2833 Peachtree Industrial Boulevard, Duluth, GA 30096


Ages: 9-18 Dates: June 2-5, June 9-12, June 16-19, June 23-26, July 7-10 404.894-5410 | SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE MARCH 2014



USTA Atlanta Jr. Team Tennis Summer Registration


Registration Opens 3/17/2014 Registration Closes 4/14/2014 Match Play Begins 5/24/2014 Saturday @ 1pm Regular Season Ends 7/5/2014 Play Offs 7/12/2014 Championships 7/19/2014

TGA Summer Tennis Camps at Hudlow Tennis Center June 9-13 June 23-27 July 7-11 July 14-18



at YOUR aNNUal PHYsical


Located in Duluth, Lawrenceville Hamilton Mill and Sugar Hill

15 OF ew membe rs only

ages 1 - 18 years

Gymnastics teams

(Compulsories through Elite)

Tumbling, Dance, After school care

(with included gym or tumbling class)

Camps 3145 Northwoods Pkwy, Suite 100 Peachtree Corners, GA 30071

(404) 803-1218


Valley View Equestrian Camps Cloudland, GA

606 Valley View Ranch Road, Cloudland, GA 30731 Ages 8-18, includes other sports swimming, canoeing, volleyball, archery, gymkhanas, horseshows.

Seacamp Big Pine Key, FL

Orlando and Tampa Bay. FL


Richard Ford, Founder/Owner of SmartHoops, as director of the Nike Basketball Camp at Berry College in Mount Berry, GA. Join Coach Ford and his staff as they help you improve your basketball game at this annual camper favorite overnight location! The Complete Skills camp will run from July 6-10, 2014. Check the website for further information on the following available camps:

Nike Golf Camps, Berry College Nike Softball Camps Columbus State University 1-800-645-3226


1014 Cave Spring Road, Rome, GA 30161 Rome-DS.html

Co-ed, ages 12-17. 18-day sessions. Marine science, scuba, sailing, wind surfing and more. 877-732-2267

Nike Basketball Camp, Berry College


Rome, GA

Early Registration Discounts( by March 31) 5% discount for a single session 10% discount for multiple children and/or multiple sessions



No. 1 Soccer Camps Darlington School

CAMP BARNEY MEDINTZ Blue Ridge Mountains

Boys and Girls, Ages 8 through 16 Camp Barney Medintz is a premier Jewish overnight camp. Located amidst the Appalachian and Blue Ridge Mountains just 75 miles northeast of Atlanta, "Camp Barney" sits on more than 500 acres of pine forests and exceptional facilities surrounding two private lakes.The facilities include: Gymnasium, Sports Complex, Tennis Center, Equestrian Center and more.


SeaWorld and Busch Gardens Adventure Camps. Co-ed, grades 4-College. One-week sessions. Amazing up-close animal encounters from belugas to giraffes, plus everything the parks have to offer. 866-468-6226.

Cohutta Springs Youth Camp. Crandall, GA

Co-ed, ages 7-18. One-week sessions and family camp. Archery, basketball, biking, canoeing, creative arts, drama, golf, gymnastics, horsemanship, nature, rock climbing, sports, videography, water sports. 706-602-7346

Joe Machnik No.1 Goalkeeper Camp & Striker Camp Rome, GA

Co-ed, ages 8-18, Four- to twelve-day sessions. Nationwide soccer camp with over 35 years experience. 706-378-3706

Camp Mondamin for Boys/Green Cove for Girls. Tuxedo, NC

Boys and girls, ages 6-17. One-, two-, three- and five-week sessions. Rock-climbing, whitewater canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, horseback, swimming, sailing, tennis, wilderness trips and more. 800-688-5789. North Carolina

► Parent and Tot Classes ► Boys and Girls Classes ► Birthday Parties ► Camps and Kidz Night Out ► Boys and Girls Team Program ► Adult Fitness Classes MENtiON tHis aD fOR a PROMOtiONal DiscOUNt Suwanee 145 Old Peachtree Road 770-945-3424


SOCCER ACADEMY Norcross Soccer Academy offers recreational and Select (Junior Select is U9-U12 and Senior Select is U13-U19) programs for boys and girls ages 4 to 18.

Lawrenceville 98 Patterson Road 770-962-5867

spring Break soccer/swim camps April 7-11, 2014 Full Day Camp - 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m. - $175

Check Out Our Spring Break & Summer Camps online!

soccer/swim camps

June 16 - 20 June 23 - 27 July 7 - 11 July 14 - 18 July 21 - 25 Full Day - 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. - $175 Half Day - 9:00 a.m.-12:00 Noon - $145

NSA helps build a player’s skills and confidence. Spring break and summer campers will participate in soccer and other fun activities in our state-of-the-art indoor facility. Full day campers will enjoy a fully equipped aquatic center with indoor pools and a out door water park located within walking distance from our indoor facility.

(770) 840-9275 | Pinckneyville Park is located at 4707 S. Old Peachtree Road in Norcross, Georgia. NSA’s office is open Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is located at 4530 South Berkeley Lake Road, Suite D, in Norcross.




THE road less traveled EXCEPTIONAL KIDS ATHLETICS, INC. Giving Every Child A Chance Written by Reg L. Carver photographs courtesy of EKA The Road Less Traveled. is a regular column, where we will take a look at individuals and sports/recreation that are often overlooked by most mainstream sports magazines. We hope you enjoy our detours.


very now and then, someone (or some group of folks) has an idea that is simple yet profound at the same time. And once these ideas are put in place, we all wonder to ourselves, “Why didn’t I think of that?” or “Why didn’t someone think of this before now?” When I learned of Exceptional Kids Athletics, Inc. (EKA) for the first time (on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at Gwinnett’s Youth Sports Expo), these were the very first thoughts that entered my mind. And I think most of us would have the exact same reaction upon learning about EKA. Again, while a simple notion, EKA’s mission is so profound that it will most assuredly change the lives of countless young athletes for many years to come.

WHAT IS EXCEPTIONAL KIDS ATHLETICS, INC.? Founded in June 2012 by Aimee Prainito, her husband Scott, and Jonn Warde, EKA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide any child who so desires, regardless of physical and/or cognitive disability, the opportunity to play in an organized sports league. An experience most of us have always taken for granted, children with physical/cognitive disabilities almost never have had the chance to enjoy.


The folks at EKA, with unbridled spirit, dogged determination, and a unique ability to remove the word “can’t” from their vocabulary, are steadily providing for disabled children one thing that many children love to do more than anything – play – throw, hit, and kick balls, belong to a team, wear a cool new uniform, consider herself or himself an athlete trying to score one for the team. I know what you may be thinking at this point – “There is nothing new about EKA – just look at programs like the Special Olympics.” Folks, I assure you EKA goes way beyond Special Olympics. (Indeed, I understand the concept of Special Olympics – it is a noble organization that provides children and adults with intellectual challenges the chance to compete in a variety of sports and fitness programs. Started in the 1950’s by Eunice Kennedy Shriver (literally in her own backyard), Special Olympics is now a global operation. Special Olympics is a wonderful and very worthy organization. Ms. Shriver’s vision holds a special place in the hearts of many – and deservedly so.) But EKA goes way beyond Special Olympics. Again, EKA provides athletes with any physical and/or cognitive disabilities the chance to participate. To put it as simply as I possibly


can – literally all are welcome. A child’s level of participation is up to his or her abilities. And EKA will take every reasonable step it can to ensure any child can participate to his or her capacity.

STARTING SMALL BUT DREAMING BIG Starting with soccer (with the Spring 2014 season just getting underway), EKA has big goals. It has doubled in size from 2013. It hopes that next year it can offer baseball. Says CoFounder/CEO Aimee Prainito, “cheerleading is on the agenda, swimming is on the agenda – a lot – but we have to grow in a responsible way.” And doing things in a responsible way is another hallmark of EKA. Every coach has

Photos courtesy of EKA

The essence of our effort to see that every child has a chance must be to assure each an equal opportunity, not to become equal, but to become different – to realize whatever unique potential of body, mind and spirit he or she possesses. – John Fischer

of 9 and 18, and have an interest in making a real difference in the life of a special needs child, please consider checking it out. It may prove challenging to you – for sure - but you will make memories that will last you forever. Please visit EKA’s website – www. exceptionalkidsathletics. org. It is very comprehen-

sive and provides lots of important information to assist you in deciding whether to give EKA a try. Like the quote at the top reminds us, each person is unique and has unique contributions to make to this world. Helping a special needs child become involved in EKA just may make the difference in whether she or he is able to reveal that unique contribution. Reg L. Carver is a writer and photographer in Johns Creek, Georgia. You may find him at

played or coached at the high school, college, or professional level. And every coach and staff member is trained in working with special needs kids. Every athlete is also provided up to two “buddy volunteers” who accompany them at all times on the field to assist with whatever is needed. Buddy volunteers are between the ages of 9 and 18 and also are trained to work with the special needs of their assigned athlete. Each athlete is provided with a new uniform and soccer ball. And parents are not expected to volunteer. As a matter of fact, as Prainito puts it, “I don’t even want an athlete’s parents on the field. I want them to enjoy the same experience as parents with children who are not disabled – just to be able to sit in the stands and enjoy watching their child play.”

EKA’s BIGGEST NEEDS To enable EKA to grow (as well as maintain its high standards), it needs resources. First, simply put, it needs more funds. EKA, knowing the high medical bills these athletes’ parents face, tries its best to keep costs to a minimum. All donations are tax deductible as EKA is a recognized charity. EKA’s other greatest need is additional buddy volunteers. If you are between the ages

NORCROSS BRANCH 5100 Peachtree Parkway Norcross, GA 30092 770-246-0011; Fax: 770-246-0055

DUNWOODY- LOAN PRODUCTION OFFICE 5496 Chamblee Dunwoody Road Dunwoody, GA 30338 770-392-0900; Fax: 770-392-0912

LAWRENCEVILLE BRANCH 185 Gwinnett Drive Lawrenceville, GA 30046 678-736-6250; Fax: 678-736-6260

OLD PEACHTREE BRANCH 1035 Old Peachtree Road, NW Lawrenceville, GA 30043 678-638-4000; Fax: 678-638-4020 SPORTS GWINNETT MAGAZINE MARCH 2014




High School and Middle School Sports

Creekland Middle School student being scouted for college basketball Father praises her for her strength on court


She’s extremely strong for someone her age and is by no means a “skinny Minnie.” She’s able to power through contact with other players. The all-county and all-western honors she received were voted on by the head girls’ basketball coaches in Gwinnett County. Both years she earned the awards unanimously, the first player to do so.


Victoria has been playing basketball for a long time. Her father

“She’s a creative shot-maker,” he said. “She has NBA range on her jump-shot, which is rare for high

school and college players.”



reekland Middle School eighth grader Victoria Oglesby was selected for the All Gwinnett County and All Western Division teams for the second year in a row and has already received full scholarship offers, despite not even being in high school.

Perryn Oglesby, who coaches her on the travel Amateur Athletic Union team the Ribbon Warriors, said he’s been coaching her since she could hold a basketball — since she was four or five years old. She’s a great shooter first and foremost, with excellent strength and power. But that’s not the only area where she shines.



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All this has made her extremely attractive to colleges. She’s received full scholarship offers from Clemson, East Carolina University, and Virginia Commonwealth University. Most of the traditional top 25 women’s college basketball programs are recruiting her hard. Schools that have expressed interest in her include Kansas State University, the University of Michigan, the University of Georgia, the University of California at Los Angeles, Northwestern University, and Ohio State. Perryn expects many more offers before she even starts ninth grade. “They’re coming in almost daily,” he said. Many college coaches will follow her as she travels with the Ribbon Warriors. Although it’s still early in the process, the two of them are working on building relations and getting to know all the different coaches and programs. Victoria herself likes all the attention. “It’s a fun experience,” she said. “I [want] to soak it in right now.” When asked about how she’ll make her college pick, she said it depends on how the coaches feel about her and what she feels about the college and the staff. She wants to go to a school with strong academics—she’s a straight-A student and a member of the gifted program. However, it’s important to her to find the program where the people love her the most, because they’ll support her on and off the court. As far as what she’ll study, she would like to study sports medicine and broadcast communications. She’s always been interested in sports medicine and as an athlete herself she could relate to those under her care. And she’s always loved what analysts and broadcasters do. Victoria also has hobbies off the court. She enjoys drawing and listening to music as well as working out and spending time with her family and friends. Her favorite NBA player is LeBron James and her favorite WBNA player is Maya Moore.

Other people in the community have noticed her talent.


“Victoria is the hardest-working kid I have ever coached,” said Creekland Head Girls’ Coach Amanda Heil. “Her love and desire for the game will take her many places.”

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Robert Alfonso, associate editor and writer at hoopseen. com, has seen Victoria work out with her father or play against her brother between travel basketball games held at the Suwanee Sports Academy where his website has its headquarters.

$5 off*

with promo code


“She’s obviously a player on the rise,” he said. He doesn’t want to put enormous expectations on her, but for a player her age, she’s committed every day to improve her abilities and be the best player she can. She works on her craft, not just sharpening skills she already has but also improving areas where she’s weak. She’s a student of the game and passionate about basketball. Although Alfonso won’t compare her to other players, he said she is the most determined middle school girl he has seen in a long time, and he’s been living in Georgia since 2004. He said he won’t go so far as to say she’ll be the next Maya Moore—an award-winning women’s basketball player who has played in both the United States and China—because anything can happen between now and when she graduates high school, but she just might be. As far as making scholarship offers to middle schoolers is concerned, he’s been a sports reporter for 17 years and he’s seen offers made to middle school boys. A coach once told him these kinds of offers would soon be made to girls, so he’s not surprised.

Hoosiers meets A League of Their Own in this gritty Depression-era sports drama. By Meg Miroshnik, 2012 Alliance/Kendeda National Graduate Playwriting Competition Winner for The Fairytale Lives of Russian Girls

“Over the last few years the NCAA has been trying to do away with it, but colleges will hear about and still get information on young athletes,” he said. “They don’t go out to look for them.” With technology like the Internet and text messages, it’s much easier for colleges to get information and learn about potential players.

Directed by Susan V. Booth

March 7–30 Tickets @ 404.733.5000 | Groups 404.733.4690

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Mayor’s Office of Cultural Affairs





Highlighted Parks and Recreation Events and Programs

Lions Club Park Ribbon Cutting, 2009 SPLOST project now complete

STAMPEDE IN THE PARK 5K Trail Run/1 Mile Fun Run Running


by Reg L. Carver

arly Saturday morning, February 8, 2014, was a bit brisk in Gwinnett County – just above freezing in the mid-30’s. But the Stampede In The Park 5K Trail Run/1Mile Fun Run at Stone Mountain’s Yellow River Park had long been scheduled, and as is expected with races, it was a go. And the cold failed to dampen the spirits and determination of the many excited participants. As expected, Stampede In The Park offered runners a true challenge – a wooded, narrow trail with rugged terrain, hills to climb, and creeks to cross. To give you an idea of the level of the challenge, 12 members of the Kennesaw State University Run Club ran the race. But it was also next to the Yellow River, a spot many believe to be the most scenic of places in Gwinnett County. The race brought runners of

Outdoor Adventures Sand VolleyBall Courts

Jones Bridge Park Dacula Park Collins Hill Park Bogan Park Duncan Creek Park Graves Park Sweet Water Park Rabbit Hill Park Bryson Park


all ages and experience levels. Everyone was provided with plenty of free “warm up” drinks and food options from an array of generous sponsors. There was even a pre-race Zumba-style workout complete with a DJ thumping grooves getting everyone in the mood to move! With proceeds benefitting Meadowcreek High School’s Track and Cross Country programs, the race was extremely well organized. Race volunteers included staff and students from Meadowcreek High School (including 34 members of the high school’s Key Club), and Radloff Middle School’s and Lilburn Middle School’s Environmental Clubs. The overall winner was 17-year-old Tumiso Tidamane with a time of 21:49.2 – that is ap-


Harbins Park Tribble Mill Park Yellow River Park Little Mulberry Park

Park has officially reopened after a series of major improvements.

proximately 6.9 minutes per mile! That time would be impressive for by MATTHEW W. QUINN almost any 5K trail run, but for the Yellow River Park trail, it was fficials from Gwinnett phenomenal. County and the city of Lilburn turned out Feb. Stampede In The Park is a race 25 to cut the ribbon on a that will definitely give you a revamped Lions Club Park. great aerobic workout and test your running skills. All trail runners should consider running it next year. All the while, you are guaranteed to have a blast in the process. Sports Gwinnett Magazine also produced one of our SportsShorts films covering the race. If interested in seeing some race coverage, you can find the film on YouTube under SportsGwinnett. Reg L. Carver is a writer and photographer in Johns Creek, Georgia. You may find him at ■


Vice President of Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation Authority Jack Bolton negotiated the handover of Lions Club Park from Lilburn to Gwinnett County when he was mayor from 2003 to 2007. Originally the Lilburn Lions Club owned and operated the park, but as the club’s membership fell in the late 1980s, this became a hardship. The club turned it over to the city with the understanding the city would keep operating the park and keep the name. The city let the Greater Lilburn Athletic Association operate the park and provided some minor maintenance, but in the early 2000s decided the park needed major improvements it could not afford at the time.


“It made sense to go into partnership with the county, to have the county take it over and refurbish it,” he said.

Disc Golf Courses

Furthermore, since the park is located on Rockbridge Circle at the edge of Lilburn, more residents of the unincorporated county use it than city residents.

Harbins Park Yellow River Park , Tribble Mill Park , Lenora Park Alexander Park



TEAM MOMS & DADS Tips, Recommendations and Advice

by Krystal Cox Above: Ribbon Cutting. Below: Sunny Yang of Tucker and her sons Leo Xu, 10, and Max Xu, 4, enjoy bouncing on the Lions Club Park. (photo by Matthew W. Quinn)

The county signed a 50-year lease in 2005 and made some significant improvements, including new stands and fencing. In 2008, a citizens’ committee made up of local stakeholders formed to help the county design the new park. “Today’s the culmination of that effort,” he said The 2009 SPLOST funded the expanded park. It grew from 17 acres to 82 acres, with over half the park preserved as green space. There is now a baseball complex with five lighted fields, an 1,800-square foot building for concessions and restrooms, a plaza, batting cages, a 60-foot pavilion, a maintenance building, more than 850 parking spaces, a paved trail system with benches, adult swings, and picnic shelters. “Looking at a two-dimensional schematic it’s hard to envision what it would actually look like,” he said. “The results have been amazing, more than any of us envisioned what it was going to be.” Lilburn Director of Planning and Economic Development Doug Stacks played ball at the Lions Club Park years ago. Recreation is the heart of Lilburn. He’s glad Gwinnett County has made the effort to renovate the park. “These parks create a quality of life that draws families to Lilburn,” he said. Sunny Yang of Tucker came to the park with her sons Leo Xu, 10, and Max Xu, 4. Feb. 25 was not her first visit—she’d visited a week

before and was now coming back. “We love it,” she said. The parts she liked best were the playground and baseball fields. Her sons will play baseball there the next season, since it’s convenient to her house. She also liked the nearby trail and the pavilion, which is great for picnics. Michelle Burg of Lilburn brought her five children, who range in age from three to seven and include a set of triplets. “We were happy to find this park,” she said. The Berg family first discovered the Lions Club Park when her husband Josh found it. They first came Feb. 23. The children loved it and wanted to come back. In addition to the monkey bars and other playground equipment that’s low to the ground enough for the children to use without parental assistance, the park has perks for her too. Its nearby trail is shorter than the one she usually runs with the triplets in the jogging stroller and connects to the sidewalks leading to her house. “That’s probably my favorite thing,” she said. ■


parent’s role is important to their children’s success and failure just as much as the coach’s. With that comes great responsibility as a parent can affect how well their child does or does not do in a game or practice

Do’s: Encourage the players—Cheer on your child and his or her teammates. Get into the habit of providing the support to not just your child but all of the children on their team. You may turn around or go to the bathroom and miss your child make the game winning basket, beat their fastest swim time or have an awesome play. Rest assured that your fellow parents are providing the same support to your child as they are to theirs. Support them through wins and losses!! Communicate with the coach— if there are things going on at home that may affect your player make sure that you let the coach know. It makes things easier when there is mutual respect on the part of the coach and parent and we are all effectively working together. If your child can not be there please make sure you let the coach know. Outside of it affecting the team coaches bond with their kids and worry about them when they aren’t there. Make Time for yourself— Having a child athlete takes a lot

of time and effort on the part of all parents so ensure that you take some time out for yourself. Remember this especially when you start thinking about coach’s gifts. A nice spa day or gift certificate for dinner out would really come in handy for someone who has been in the gym or at the field daily for the past season.

Don’ts: No coaching from the dugout, sidelines, or bleachers. Allow the coach to do just that, coach. Most coaches welcome the opportunity to discuss with you ways to help your player and/or the team improve after the practice/game. Taunt or make fun of the other players. This is a definite don’t! You would be bothered by someone doing that to your child, so why would you do it to somebody else’s child. Be the grownups and teach the kids good sportsmanship. Invite Family and Friends to games, track meets, swim meets tournaments. Your child knows you love them and you are going to be there. Why not increase the size of the cheering section not just for your child but the team. Krystal Cox is mom to 3 girls and 1 boy who have played several sports as part of Shiloh Athletic Association and Gwinnett Angels Travel Softball program. She served as team mom for numerous teams. She has also served on the softball board and is travel program co-founder. Want to contribute here email




BEST SEAT IN THE HOUSE The Passion of Sports and Recreation in Pictures

Harlem Globetrotters in town

Legendary Harlem Globetrotter Michael Douglas with Suwanee Mayor Jimmy Burnette and Councilmember Dan Foster

Youth Sports Expo

Top Left: Wayne Gilreath, Mill Creek Athletic Association (middle) with Former Atlanta Braves and Falcons player and keynote speaker Brian Jordan and Gwinnett Parks Tina Fleming. Top Right: Cathy Smith with Grayson Athletic Association (Special Population) Bottom Left: Dev-Ray Yarbrough (middle) received the award for Debra Meadows (Bryson Park Youth Athletic Association) Bottom Right: Brian Mearkle (middle) with Mountain View Athletic Association

Norcross falls to Tift County in the 6A semi-finals Photos courtesy of Sonny Kennedy Visit for more photos



Archer Girls Advances to the 6A State Basketball Championship Archer advanced to the 6A state championship game with a 78-67 victory over Lowndes County Photos courtesy of Sonny Kennedy Visit for more photos

Archer Wins in Traditional Wrestling Championship Photos courtesy of Sonny Kennedy Visit for more photos



Adventure Camps Full day recreation camps with a thematic twist!

Preschool Camps Fun morning camps at select locations.

Special Interest Camps Partial day camps led by specialized instructors.

Register today! Top Notch convenient locations Buford Bogan Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0850 Dacula Dacula Park Activity Building 678.277.0850 Duluth Shorty Howell Park Activity Building 770.277.0900 Lawrenceville Rhodes Jordan Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0890

Lilburn Mountain Park Park Depot Building 678.277.0179 Norcross Lucky Shoals Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0860 Pinckneyville Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0920 Best Friend Park Gym  770.417.2212 Jones Bridge Park Activity Building  770.417.2212 Stone Mountain Mountain Park Activity Building 678.277.0179 Suwanee George Pierce Park Community Recreation Center 678.277.0910



The only good thing about

CONCUSSIONS is that they can be

T R E AT E D . Knowing the facts could save your athlete’s life. Recognition and proper management of concussions when they first occur can prevent further injury or even death. Most athletes can safely return to play after a concussion, but must recover at their own rate. The Concussion Institute at Gwinnett Medical Center-Duluth is the first facility of its kind in the Southeast, and its experts help athletes return to the field as quickly, and as safely, as possible. Learn more about concussions and how to protect your athlete. Download A Parent’s Guide to Concussion Care at

Transforming Healthcare

Sports Gwinnett, March 2014  

Sports Concussions; Summer Sports Camp Guide, Part 2; The Road Less Traveled: Exceptional Kids Athletics; Sports Medicine Guide, Lions Club...