Packers Launch Anti-Steroid And Exercise Education In Seven Wisconsin High Schools

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Packers To Implement ATLAS and ATHENA Evidence-Based Drug Prevention And Health Promotion Programs

The Green Bay Packers will partner with seven Wisconsin high schools to implement the NFL ATLAS & ATHENA Schools Program, a nationally-acclaimed initiative designed to promote healthy living and reduce the use of steroids and other drugs among high school athletes.

The high schools, Ashwaubenon, Columbus, De Pere, Gibraltar, New Holstein, Two Rivers and West De Pere, will complete the program sessions during the 2008-09 school year. The schools were chosen based on interviews with program administrators and school-wide commitment from the principal, athletic director and coaches.

This local opportunity was created as a result of a $2.8 million grant from the NFL Youth Football Fund to Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU). The Green Bay Packers, other NFL teams and the NFL Players Association all contribute to the NFL Youth Football Fund. The NFL grant is one of a series of improvements to the NFL and NFL Players Association's policy and program on anabolic steroids and related substances. It will be used to disseminate ATLAS and ATHENA to 36,000 high school athletes and 1,200 coaches in 80 high schools during the 2008-2009 school year. Participating teams include the Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, and Washington Redskins.

The ATLAS & ATHENA programs focus on nutrition and exercise as alternatives to drug use. The ATLAS program targets adolescent male athletes' use of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone, alcohol and other drugs and use of sport supplements, while improving healthy nutrition and exercise practices. ATHENA is designed to reduce disordered eating and use of body shaping and other drugs among young women, while promoting healthy nutrition and exercise.

"We're very pleased to participate in this program," said Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy. "Educating our youth about the importance of nutrition and exercise is crucial. Through this program, students and coaches will be able to work with their peers to promote healthy practices and avoidance of performance enhancing drugs."

To launch this year's ATLAS & ATHENA program, more than 200 student athletes and coaches from the seven ATLAS & ATHENA schools will train Friday, Sept. 26, at the Lambeau Field Atrium. Throughout the season, coaches and student-athletes trained as "Squad Leaders" will lead school sports teams in exercises using peer and group influences to promote sports nutrition and healthy behaviors. These weekly 45-minute sessions, which include role-plays, student-created campaigns and interactive games, will continue throughout the season.

Proven Results

*ATLAS and ATHENA have been implemented in more than 31 states in the US and Puerto Rico

*ATLAS Results (Published in 1996 and 2000)

-New anabolic steroid use decreased 50%

-New alcohol and illicit drug use decreased 50%

-Occurrences of drinking and driving declined 24%

-Reduced use of performance-enhancing supplements

-Improved nutrition and exercise

-Students believed they were better athletes

*ATHENA Results (Published in 2004)

-Reduced use of athletic enhancing substances (steroids, amphetamines, supplements)

-Reduced new and ongoing use of diet pills, alcohol and marijuana

-Less riding in a car with a drunk driver

-Reduced new sexual activity

-Improved nutrition behaviors

-Fewer injuries

About the NFL Youth Football Fund

Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFLPA, the NFL Youth Football Fund (YFF) seeks to use football as a catalyst to promote positive youth development, support youth and high school football needs nationwide and also ensure the health of grassroots football in future generations. Through the YFF, many youth football initiatives and support programs have been developed, providing youngsters with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors.

About ATLAS and ATHENA

The ATLAS (Adolescents Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids) and ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives) programs are directed by Linn Goldberg, M.D. and Diane Elliot, M.D., of the OHSU School of Medicine. The nationally-recognized programs have undergone randomized controlled evaluations involving more than 4,000 student-athletes in over 50 high schools and have been disseminated for use in more than 60 schools in 31 states. The results of the programs are published in leading medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association and the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. ATLAS and ATHENA are the only programs recommended by the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004, recognized as model curricula. Visit http://www.atlasathena.com/

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