By Teresa Varley
The Steelers reached out to local high schools this week to promote healthy living and reduce the use of steroids and drugs among high school athletes as a part of the NFL's Atlas & Athena School Program.
Athletes from five local High Schools, Hampton, Penns Manor, North Hills, West Allegheny and Baldwin, attended a seminar at Heinz Field that focused on the importance of nutrition and exercise.
Steelers tight end Matt Spaeth spoke to the group and let them know you can achieve your dreams and goals the right way, which is drug free.
"You can get to the level where you want to be and do the things that you want to do and dream of doing without using illegal substances," said Spaeth. "If you get rest, eat right and work hard then you can accomplish anything you want."
Spaeth used his approach as an example given that he maintains a healthy diet, staying away from fast food, and is a regular in the weight room. He is hoping that his words help to diminish the perception that steroids are needed in order to gain an edge.
"I think it's big for them to see us and we can show them you can get to this level without doing that stuff," said Spaeth. "You hear a lot about steroids and kids get wrong perception that they are everywhere and that is not the case."
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/
**MATT SPAETH WITH HIGH SCHOOL GROUPS