Detroit Lions 1st Round Draft Pick Ezekiel Ansah along with UM and MSU Head Coaches Brady Hoke and Mark Dantonio to Kick Off 9th Annual Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) Academy

Over 200 College Coaches Engage over 800 youth in life skills, academic and football instruction

June 5, 2013; SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN: Nine year NFL Starting Defensive Tackle Kevin Vickerson of the Denver Broncos a former Detroit KING graduate and Michigan State alum, will host the 9th annual Sound Mind Sound Body (SMSB) Football Academy sponsored by Adidas, starting Thursday, June 13 and commencing on Saturday, June 15 at Southfield High School (24675 Lahser Rd).  This year’s Academy will have a theme of player safety as the camp will kick-off with in state Rivals Mark Dantonio (MSU) & Brady Hoke (UM) leading a concussion awareness presentation to over 700 youth along with a safe tackling video presentation and on-field tackling demonstration.

Overall this years program will feature 15 Division I Head Coaches and 300 College assistants providing instruction to 800 youth. Coaches from the Big Ten, MAC, GLIAC and HBCU, including Gary Anderson (Wisconsin), Urban Meyer (OSU), Dan Enos (CMU), PJ Fleck (WMU), Paul Haynes (Kent State), and many more are scheduled to attend the academy, which provides under-served Metro Detroit high school males with the opportunity to become well-rounded student athletes on and off the field.  A press conference focused on the academy & available programs will be held on Friday, June 14 at 10am at Southfield High School with MSU Head Coach, Mark Dantonio and UofM Head Coach, Brady Hoke along with others.

SMSB has operated programs in Washington D.C., Tulsa, and Chicago since 2004 and has touched nearly 10,000 under-served high school youth. 85% of the SMSB attendees have graduated high school and over 500 have earned Division I and Division II scholarships.  This year SMSB will recognize an alumnus who attend the camp for 3 years 2005-07 and was a 2013 NFL Draft Pick and Former Michigan State Spartan William Gholston.  The academy is highlighted by college chalk talk and life skills sessions in the classroom and on the field. The goal of the SMSB program is to teach high school students that equal amounts of energy must be applied to academics, athletics and smart choices in order to be a student athlete.

“We’re very excited to host the 9th Annual SMSB Academy at Southfield High School,” said Curtis Blackwell, Vice President and co-founder of SMSB and Lifting as We Climb. “This year’s academy will focus on player safety and concussion awareness. This is not just about football! It’s really important for our youth to have a Sound Mind and Sound Body.   We want to give young student-athletes the knowledge and tools to become successful not only on the field, but more importantly, in the classroom and in their communities. We couldn’t be happier with the support we’ve received from the college and high school coaches and NFL athletes who are scheduled to attend and are looking forward to seeing the Metro Detroit community at this year’s event.”

SMSB will officially kick off on Thursday, where participants will attend a Sound Mind Sound Body Symposium hosted by Detroit Lions rookie players who will be making there first public appearance in the Detroit Community.  Scheduled to attend the Rookie Forum include 1st Round Draft Pick Ezekiel Ansah (BYU) and Theo Riddick (Notre Dame), Corey Fuller (Virginia Tech), Michael Williams (Alabama), Larry Warford (Kentucky) along with the entire 2013 rookie draft class. The Lions rookie players will share their insights on life skills and lessons with the student-athletes.

Kevin Vickerson will kick off the second day of the SMSB camp, followed by a press conference featuring Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio and University of Michigan head coach Brady Hoke. Dantonio and Hoke will also speak to SMSB participants about necessary skills both on and off the field, including college prep, concussions, football skills, life skills and NCAA eligibility.

SMSB will commence on Friday, June 15 with life skills and football skills sessions, followed by an awards ceremony. The camp is free to the public to attend.

To register or sponsor a youth for the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy-Camp, please visit or call 313.333.1646.

About Sound Mind Sound Body

The SMSB Football Academy is designed to utilize football as a vehicle to convey to high school student-athletes that equal amounts of energy must be applied to academics, athletics and life skills development, which will lead to their success on and off the field and a college scholarship.  In addition to the physical on-field lessons, professional and collegiate athletes enlighten students on their training requirements in preparation for college and professional football careers throughout the camp.

About the Lifting As We Climb Foundation

The Lifting As We Climb Foundation is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization created, organized, and managed by five Hampton University graduates.  Established in 2004, the organization is primarily made up of young business professionals, dedicated to making a difference in the lives of underprivileged, low-income youth.

For more information on Lifting As we Climb Foundation and the Sound Mind Sound Body Academy- Camp, please call 313.522.8876.