Outside of my duties as producer and blogger duties here at Sports Radio 92.9 The Game, I have been in education and coaching for the past 14 years. I was blessed in June with a new job at Salem High School in Conyers, Georgia where I serve as a teacher along with Varsity Runningbacks Coach. Of course in the state of Georgia, high school football is serious as you seek to get better for the upcoming season.

AJ Starr despite having Cerebral Palsy just keeps going. (Photo Credit/therealajfoundation.org)

AJ Starr despite having Cerebral Palsy just keeps going. (Photo Credit/therealajfoundation.org)

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As we gather into the plans for a hot and humid summer day I notice a young man, not young enough to be a player, carrying equipment and leading the warm up drills for the group of dedicated players. From a distance I can see that he is walking with a noticeable limp. As I approach I notice that the young man’s speech is altered and that his arm is in a clutched motion. I asked Head Football Coach John Starr who the young man was and he proceeded to tell me that it was his nephew, AJ Starr, and that he would be helping out this summer.

Over the next few weeks, AJ assisted like he was a paid employee of the team. He would carry equipment, provide instruction, and even demonstrate drills despite having an obvious handicap, which I came to know was Cerebral Palsy. He never let any of that be a deterrent from giving his all during practices. There was something else that anyone surrounding the program during those months always noticed. AJ was head to toe in University of Alabama Gear….every….single….DAY!! Now of course we have a diverse coaching staff, full of college football pride, but it was never hard to notice who AJ was rooting for on a regular basis. I dug a little deeper with the story and that is where I would find out that the connection with AJ and Alabama was way more than skin deep.

AJ Starr was born and raised in northeast Alabama and was born with Cerebral Palsy. He never let this impairment stop him from reaching new heights. With the help and support of the entire Starr Family, AJ went on to graduate from the University of Alabama in 2014. While on the campus of Alabama he was part of the Football Equipment Staff. During 2012 while with the equipment staff, Starr would form an unbreakable bond with another AJ that is very familiar to the world….AJ McCarron. The story of their bond was featured during the 2013 Sugar Bowl and they continue to be close to this day.

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AJ McCarron and AJ Starr have an unbreakable bond. (Photo Credit/therealajfoundation.org)

AJ McCarron and AJ Starr have an unbreakable bond. (Photo Credit/therealajfoundation.org)

AJ Starr continues to defy all odds. He has been honored and recognized for this drive and courage, including in June 2014 where he traveled to Washington, DC to receive the prestigious “No Excuses” Award. Ironically enough, as he great friend AJ McCarron is set to now lead the Cincinnati Bengals, AJ Starr needs your help in raising awareness and funding for Cerebral Palsy.

The Real AJ Foundation proudly presents the 4th Annual “Georgia High School All-Star Event” on December 22, 2015, benefiting Cerebral Palsy Awareness. The organization has joined NFL Alumni, and local high school football communities, to provide more than 200 student athletes an opportunity to showcase their talents among Georgia’s premiere competitors at the Georgia Dome in downtown Atlanta. The High School All-Star game will also celebrate the achievements of select youth football student-athletes, giving them an opportunity to be rewarded for their yearlong efforts as well.

To find out more about the organization browse the website, therealajfoundation.org. For the All-Star game contact John Starr of The Real AJ Foundation at 706-859-1302 or by email at john@therealaj.com. If you want to donate or have a press inquiry please contact Alisha Alford of Glory Sports Consultants at 404-399-9828 or by email at Alisha.glorysports@gmail.com.

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Jamie Walker is a Producer and Blogger for Sports Radio 92.9 The Game. Follow him on Twitter @coachjdub21 or reach him through email at Jamie.Walker@cbsradio.com.