George Mason High School’s Josh Jenkins is in for a world of hurt. Or so it would seem in a recent advertisement appearing on Sports Illustrated’s website for the ATLAS and ATHENA health promotion and drug use prevention program. The advertisement, which includes ten other Mason High students all dressed in full football equipment, shows a pad-less Jenkins dropping back from the line of scrimmage about to be sandwiched between two defenders. Below, the ad’s text describes how the ATLAS and ATHENA programs are designed to protect student athletes by educating them about the negative impact of alcohol, drugs and steroids.
“The process started about this time last year,” George Mason High School Athletic Director Tom Horn said. “We got word that we would be one of four schools selected last May and that photo was shot last July. They were looking for people to help out with the photo and we stepped up to the plate.”
Borrowing additional uniforms from Falls Church High School and using the football field at Fairfax High School (Mason’s was undergoing its Field Turf renovation), the ad team picked 11 kids from a weight training session and lined them up as they saw fit.
“Even before Josh had ever donned a football uniform he was holding a football in a photo for Sports Illustrated,” Horn said of Jenkins, who wouldn’t suit up with the Mustang football team until the fall.
Run by the Center for Health Promotion Research at Oregon Health and Science University and sponsored by Sports Illustrated, the ATLAS and ATHENA programs seek to educate student athletes about various substance issues, particularly steroid abuse, by breaking athletic teams into small student groups for educational sessions monitored by coaches.
While this is the first year that Mason has received funding through the program, it is the second time the school has appeared in the pages of Sports Illustrated in the recent past. Previously the magazine covered the school when it sold the naming rights to what is now known as Moore Cadillac Stadium.
The ad can be viewed online by visiting sportsillustrated.cnn.com/sichampion/atlasathena.