Athlete Committed launches in Nevada County

Brian ScienceWhat a great way to start 2015 with the launch of Athletes Committed! Early on the morning of January 27th, the day began with an outstanding presentation at Nevada Union High School by John Underwood, an Olympic Trainer, Founder of Life of an Athlete, and Director of American Athletic Institute.  More than 500 Nevada Joint Union High School District (NJUHSD) staff, board members, middle school principals and coaches, county health professionals and other community members learned about the compelling science and research that shows how alcohol and other drugs, sleep and nutrition affect academic and athletic performance.

It’s a way to give kids, at a very impressionable time in their lives, the best information to make the best decisions on how they’re going to live their lives in a healthy way.” John Underwood

John  and his team of four, including two former Navy SEALS Jason Larson and Anthony Page, and Danelle Campbell of Butte County Behavioral Health facilitated training and activities for staff, students and parents at both Nevada Union and Bear River high schools.

The afternoon Super Clinic sessions consisted of break out sessions for coaches and athletes. Coaches learned the principals of the Athletes Committed Model and strategies to implement by weaving into their team culture, commitment and skill building. Student Athletes teamed up with the SEALS for lessons in teamwork.

“We have been working on initiatives that focus on character building and leadership skills for our student athletes. Athletes Committed is an important next step.”  Jeff Dellis, Nevada Union Athletic Director

Sleep Stress Soccial DrugsBoth Nevada Union and Bear River High Schools had great participation in the evening Code Night sessions. It was incredible to see the turnout of more than 900 parents, student athletes and coaches, athletic directors and other school administration. John Underwood delivered his compelling presentation on the science and research on chemical health, sleep, nutrition, and how each of these play a huge role in students athletic and academic success.

During the parent break out session, parents signed on with a formal commitment of their own… by signing the Parent Committed Pledge, parents agree to give clear and consistent messages urging young people not to drink! The greatest influence on a young person’s decision to drink alcohol is the world they live in. The #1 protective factor against youth alcohol use is a strong parent-child relationship – a PARENT COMMITTED.

“Thank you for bringing John and his team to our school! The way he presents this information is phenomenal! My husband and I were inspired and my son actually gets it” Parent from Bear River High School

What is Athletes Committed?

The Athlete Committed campaign is about providing support to athletes, coaches and parents. This campaign urges athletes to renew their commitment to excellence! This is a commitment of personal responsibility, shared expectations and collective responsibility… to never lose their focus and never compromise on their values. The simple truth is that athletes have the power to greatly influence their performance by making better life choices about nutrition, sleep, alcohol and drugs. Being an Athlete Committed means you are focused on being your best–in sports and in life.

Image from slidesBuilding on the model program Life of an Athlete, pioneered by John Underwood, Athlete Committed focuses on creating athlete, parent and coach commitments to create positive, supporting environments free of substance use, bullying and harassment and It not only focuses on individual accountability, it incorporates principals to address “bystander” behaviors. The key components of Athlete Committed include:

Code of Conduct:  Bringing life to a piece of paper. Reportedly, 65% of student athletes use alcohol, yet every school year student athletes sign a code of conduct that prohibits that use. Our district has a comprehensive code that includes character based expectations of student athletes, as well as clear consequences for any code violation.

Mandatory Parent/Athlete Code Meeting:  All athletes along with their parent/guardian are required to attend the mandatory “code night” presentation.  This ensures that all parents and athletes are well informed of the Code of Conduct, educated on critical areas such as chemical health (substance use), bullying/harassment, nutrition, sleep and training/recovery.  This mandatory meeting is critical to the success of the program – providing the opportunity to train parents/guardians alongside their son/daughter.

Team Leaders:  Identified team leaders help to ensure that teammates hold each other accountable to team expectation and goals.  This includes choosing and building strong team leaders and creating a culture of high expectation among teammates.

Supportive Coaches:  Coaches and administrators have an important role to play in dealing with substance abuse among their athletes.  Athlete Committed coaches training helps to support coaches in the successful implementation of the model and in creating a team of excellence.

District Superintendent, Dr. Louise Johnson dedicated time during the staff professional development day to the Athletes Committed training facilitated by John Underwood. More than 500 NJUHSD staff and board members,

Why Athletes Committed?

Athletes remain one of the highest “at risk” groups for substance use and misuse. Nevada Union and Bear River high school athletes report the 65% of the athletes in their school use alcohol or other drugs, and 14% report parents and guardians are willing to host parties that include alcohol or other drugs.

Call to Action:

We all can do our part as a COMMUNITY COMMITTED TO OUR YOUTH. There are many opportunities for community involvement. For more resources and information about ways you can support Coaches will need to enlist and educate a number of stakeholders from the community in order for the Athletes Committed program to be successful. These include parents, teachers, the media, local organizations, area businesses and county government representatives. With assistance of members of the community, the Athletes Committed program can grow and thrive; bettering the lives of children and teens who are our future leaders.

Here are some ways you can get involved and help right now:

Download the Sleep Manual, and Power Back Diet so you can share with young people in your life.

Sponsor one of the student athlete leaders to attend the Life of an Athlete Leadership Training this summer at the US Olympic Training Center, Lake Placid New York. Contact Shelley if you can help.

For more information visit NCCOMMITTED.US.