The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) has been chosen as one of four state athletic associations to receive a grant from Sports Illustrated and the Center for Health Promotion Research at the Oregon Health & Science University to inform coaches and other educators about the problem of kids, drugs and sports. Educators will learn how to implement the landmark ATLAS and ATHENA steroid and drug prevention/health promotion programs in Oregon high schools.
The announcement was made today by Art Berke, vice president of communications at Sports Illustrated, and Linn Goldberg, M.D., and Diane Elliot, M.D., co-creators of the programs and professors of medicine (health promotion and sports medicine) in the OHSU School of Medicine. The other state recipients are Florida, Michigan and Virginia. The four states were chosen based on their geographic representation, the commitment of their high school associations and their capacity to recruit high schools of varying sizes, locations and diverse student populations.
The OSAA will host a statewide Sports Illustrated ATLAS & ATHENA Conference on the most up-to-date information on "Kids, Drugs and Sports" on Monday, April 24, from 1:45 to 4:45 p.m. in Sunriver, Ore. Athletic directors, coaches and school officials are invited to learn more about the problem and the ATLAS and ATHENA programs. Speakers will include experts on drug prevention, Sports Illustrated staff and Drug Enforcement Administration officials.
Schools from all of Oregon have the opportunity to apply to be part of the SI Schools initiative, which was created as a result of OHSU's selection as the recipient of Sports Illustrated's first annual SI Champion Award. Each SI School will receive program training and all ATLAS and ATHENA program components for the 2006-07 school year at no cost to the school. SI Schools also will receive national recognition from Sports Illustrated. The four Oregon SI Schools will be announced at the Sports Illustrated ATLAS & ATHENA Conference in Sunriver.
"I join with Sports Illustrated in expressing how excited we are about this opportunity to provide young athletes with the tools to succeed without drugs," said Goldberg. "The SI Schools initiative will go a long way toward combating a nationwide problem."
"The OSAA and our 287 member schools are very excited to be part of the SI Schools
program," said OSAA Executive Director Tom Welter. "We know that high school students in our state aren't immune to the dangers of substance abuse or poor nutrition but believe with the proper education and training we can make inroads to reverse this behavior. We feel like the ATLAS and ATHENA drug prevention and health promotion programs are the best options available to provide Oregon high school students the tools they need to succeed in life."
The Center for Health Promotion at OHSU was selected to receive the Champion Award due to its exemplary work in the sports arena. ATLAS (Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids), a multi-component program for male high school athletes, first instituted in 1993, is scientifically shown to reduce risk factors and use of anabolic steroids, alcohol and other illicit drugs while promoting healthy nutrition and exercise behaviors. Proven results include: new illicit substance use decreased 50 percent; new anabolic steroid use decreased 50 percent; occurrences of drinking and driving declined 24 percent, along with a lower index of alcohol and drug use; reduced use of performance-enhancing supplements; and improved nutrition and exercise behaviors.
ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives), which began reaching female athletes in high schools in 1997, features the promotion of healthy nutrition and effective exercise training as alternatives to harmful behaviors. The objectives are of ATHENA are to reduce young women athletes' disordered eating habits; deter use of body-shaping substances; improve sport performance, with guidelines targeting the specific needs of young women. Proven results include: less use of athletic enhancing substances; less use of diet pills; less riding in a car with a drinking driver; less new sexual activity; improved nutrition behaviors and reduced long-term use of alcohol, marijuana and diet pills.
About ATLAS and ATHENA
Linn Goldberg, M.D., and Diane Elliot, M.D., began investigating the reasons young athletes used anabolic steroids, alcohol and other drugs and how to prevent their use in 1987. Since that time their education research has involved more than 7,500 high school students. After developing potential strategies they applied for and received two independent research grants from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Those programs, now known as ATLAS and ATHENA, 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 and Puerto Rico. 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 housed within the newly-created Center for Health Promotion Research at OHSU. They are the only programs recommended by the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004, recognized as model curricula. Financial support for the Center is directed through the OHSU Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that funds the center's efforts to bring innovative and effective strategies to public service.
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