NFL Network Tackles Youth Fitness With New National Initiative to 'Keep Gym in School'

Thursday, October 9, 2008 General News
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 8 NFL Network is launching Keep Gym inSchool, a national initiative dedicated to supporting physical education inAmerica's schools and raising awareness about the importance of physicalactivity as part of education. The announcement was made today by KimWilliams, COO of NFL Network.

In its first year, Keep Gym in School is funding refurbishments forPhysical Education programs at select schools, hosting NFL minicamps to getkids active and assess their fitness levels. Students will participate infollow up testing to determine the local performers who will earn trips to aNational Honors Event held during the 2009 NFL Draft week. Keep Gym in Schoolhas created a series of football-inspired lesson plans and a fitnessassessment program in collaboration with the National Association for Sportand Physical Education (NASPE). The initiative is also incorporating thePresident's Challenge, a physical activity and fitness recognition program ofthe President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) and creatingthe "Keep Gym in School President's Challenge" program.

NFL Network is rolling out the program with Cox Communications in FairfaxCounty, Virginia; Wichita, Kansas; New Orleans, Louisiana; and Phoenix,Arizona. NFL teams supporting Keep Gym in School in its first year are theWashington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and ArizonaCardinals. Participating NFL players include: Redskins wide receiver AntwaanRandle El, Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards and former guard Will Shields,Saints running back Deuce McAllister and Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner.

"Every student should have the opportunity to participate in qualityphysical education because it offers the best opportunity to teach skillsneeded to establish and sustain healthy lifestyles," said Williams. "NFLNetwork is dedicated to the long-term success of physical education in thesefour schools, as well as many more as we expand this exciting initiative fromyear to year."

"Physical education in school not only gives children an opportunity to beactive, but also teaches the skills they need to be fit throughout theirlifetime," said Joe Rooney, chief marketing officer at Cox Communications."As a longstanding partner in the communities in which we operate, we areproud to champion Keep Gym in School with NFL Network."

"NFL Network, Cox Communications, The National Football League andparticipating NFL clubs are dedicating their collective resources in agroundbreaking campaign to address this important issue affecting ouryouth ... as only America's #1 sport brand can," said Dena Kaplan, senior vicepresident of marketing, NFL Network.

Keep Gym In School Overview:

School Adoption

Keep Gym in School has chosen schools in-need for adoption to help deliverquality physical education opportunities to all students. Keep Gym in Schoolwill refurbish facilities; provide funding for physical education instructorsand supply equipment, as needed.

NFL "Minicamps" and Fitness Challenge

Each adopted school will engage in an "In-School Fitness Challenge" toassess student fitness, motivate students to stay active and allow physicaleducation teachers to monitor student progress throughout the year. Thechallenges will be kicked off with "minicamp" events that will be run by theparticipating NFL players.

Teacher Training Camps

NFL Network, Cox Communications and the local NFL teams will host alldistrict physical education teachers at the team's practice facility forcontinuing education, utilizing football-style lesson plans to enhance thedistricts' existing PE curriculum.

National School Adoption Grant

To expand the program nationally, Keep Gym in School will provide oneadditional school with a $10,000 grant to improve its physical educationprogram. NFL Network will offer an online adoption contest open to any middleschool nationwide at Students, parents,teachers and other community members can nominate their school for the grantonline at the website. A list of finalists selected from the nominations willbe invited to apply for the grant. A national panel of judges will select thewinner who will be announced at the National Honors Event.

Public Service Campaign

Keep Gym in School Public Service Announcements (PSAs) featuring RandleEl, Edwards, McAllister, and Warner will run on NFL Network, in NFL games onbroadcast partners and as a cross-channel spot on the Cox affiliates.

National Keep Gym in School Honors at NFL Draft Week, April 2009

NFL Network will host a culminating Keep Gym in School honors event in NewYork City during NFL Draft Week in April 2009 to award teachers andtop-performing students from each adopted school. The school receiving theNational School Adoption Grant will be announced.

The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE)

Keep Gym in School is working with National Association for Sport andPhysical Education (NASPE) to develop instructional and educational content.NASPE is creating a series of football-inspired lesson plans and activities,designed to get kids excited about PE. NFL Network is making these lessonplans available at no cost through the program website.

Keep Gym in School is a President's Challenge Advocate

Keep Gym in School has partnered with the President's Challenge, a programof the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, to promote regularphysical activity for the health of all of America's children. As aPresident's Challenge Advocate, Keep Gym in School will incorporate the freemotivational tracker into its initiative to encourage Americans, of all agesand abilities, to make activity a part of their everyday lives. NFL Network iscreating a customizable "Keep Gym in School Challenge." With this programindividuals can log on to the website, engage in activities, and trackprogress to earn special Presidential awards recognizing theiraccomplishments.

Keep Gym in School, in conjunction with the NFL's Play 60 initiative, isdesigned to address recent facts released by the Center for Disease Controland Prevention. Over the past two decades, the rates for overweight childrenhave doubled and today over 12.5 million children and adolescents 2-19 yearsof age in the United States are overweight. According to the for DiseaseControl, only 7.9 percent of middle schools provide daily physical educationor its equivalent (225 minutes per week) for the entire school year (36 weeks)for students in all grades in the school.

Additional Partners:

Donations have been made to the initiative by Wilson, who will beproviding footballs to each of the schools and Gatorade, who will supplyhydration stations at the "minicamps."

About NFL Network:

NFL Network airs seven days a week, 24 hours a day on a year-round basisand is the only television network fully dedicated to the NFL and the sport offootball. For more information, log on to is the exclusive Internet home of NFL Network.



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