Raising Champions Event to Generate Awareness, Funds for Programs Benefiting Oregon High School Student-Athletes

07/13/09  Portland, Ore.

Sports Celebrities and Community Leaders Rally for Oregon’s Youth on Aug. 1

Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), in partnership with the Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA), proudly announces the first-ever "Raising Champions" dinner in support of healthy Oregon high school student-athletes on Saturday, Aug. 1, at the Multnomah Athletic Club.

The event is sponsored by Paul R. Vogt, a longtime MAC Club member and youth sports enthusiast, and will feature high-profile speakers, including Trail Blazer Martell Webster; two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Mariel Zagunis; Sports Illustrated, Chicago Sun Times writer Rick Telander; former White House Deputy Drug Czar, Donald Vereen, M.D., among other notable guests.

The Oregon State Legislature passed two bills in recent years (Senate Bills 517 and 1066) to ensure school districts statewide are using proven programs such as OHSU's national award winning ATLAS and ATHENA to reduce the use of performance-enhancing substances, alcohol and illicit drugs among teen athletes. ATLAS and ATHENA were developed by Linn Goldberg, M.D., head of the Division of Health Promotion & Sports Medicine, and Diane Elliot, M.D., OHSU professor of medicine (health promotion and sports medicine), with funding from the National Institutes of Health. The programs were designated national models in federal legislation known as the Anabolic Steroid Control Act.

In 2006, then-Sen. Joseph Biden, Jr., and Sen. John McCain co-presented Sports Illustrated's Champion Award to ATLAS and ATHENA. Currently, ATLAS and ATHENA are being disseminated to high schools in National Football League markets throughout the United States through a grant from the NFL's Youth Football Fund. ATLAS and ATHENA will be highlighted during the Raising Champions event.

"The OSAA supports the ATLAS and ATHENA programs because of the positive lessons of a drug-free, healthy lifestyle it teaches our student-athletes," said Tom Welter, executive director of the OSAA. "With inter-scholastic activities being an extension of the classroom, we feel that it is important to arm our student-athletes with the best information so they can make positive decisions both now and in the future."

"Over 30,000 high school athletes and their coaches have already benefited from the NFL ATLAS and ATHENA program," said Alexia Gallagher, director of the NFL Youth Football Fund. "The NFL recognizes the importance of providing proactive leadership skills to help young athletes, and we support the ATLAS and ATHENA programs because they are proven to help student athletes make healthy choices."

In addition, there will be a special announcement showcasing two NFL high schools that competed nationally for the best public service campaign. These students completed the NFL ATLAS and ATHENA programs and created their own messages to influence their teammates. In addition, following a statewide competition, two Oregon high schools will be awarded the Paul R. Vogt Grant, which provides the schools with the ATLAS and ATHENA programs for the upcoming school year.

About OHSU

Oregon Health & Science University is the state's only health and research university and Oregon's only academic health center. OHSU is Portland's largest employer and the fourth largest in Oregon (excluding government). OHSU's size contributes to its ability to provide many services and community support activities not found anywhere else in the state. It serves patients from every corner of the state, and is a conduit for learning for more than 3,400 students and trainees. OHSU is the source of more than 200 community outreach programs that bring health and education services to every county in the state.

About ATLAS and ATHENA:

ATLAS (Athletes Training and Learning to Avoid Steroids), is a nationally acclaimed, interactive peer led program for male high school athletes. ATLAS has been shown to reduce use of performance enhancing drugs, supplements, alcohol and illicit drugs, while promoting healthy nutrition and exercise behaviors and lowering drinking and driving.

ATHENA (Athletes Targeting Healthy Exercise and Nutrition Alternatives) is a high school program for young women athletes. ATHENA promotes healthy nutrition and exercise training as alternatives to harmful behaviors. ATHENA reduces young women athletes' disordered eating habits, deters use of body-shaping substances and improves sport performance while improving life skills. Proven results include: less use of athletic enhancing substances, less use of diet pills, less riding in a car with a drinking driver, greater seatbelt use, improved nutrition behaviors and reduced long-term use of alcohol, marijuana and tobacco.

About OSAA

The Oregon School Activities Association (OSAA) is a private, nonprofit, board-governed association comprised of 295 member high schools.  The OSAA, sanctioned by the Oregon State Board of Education and a member of the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), annually sponsors 116 state championships in 19 different sports and activities.

About the NFL Youth Football Fund

Established in 1998 by the NFL and the NFL Players Association, the NFL Youth Football Fund 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's youth football initiatives and support programs, youngsters are provided with opportunities to learn the game of football, get physically fit and stay involved in productive after-school activities with adult mentors.

For more information about the event, go to: www.Atlasprogram.com or www.ohsu.edu/ohsuedu/about/foundation/news_060309_raising_champions.cfm