Something new is coming to Newton High School activities this fall — "Life of a Railer."

The program is based on the national "Life of an Athlete" program that is dedicated to reducing substance abuse, brought to the school system by Harvey County D-Fy. 

"Our program will incorporate activities, anything that is under (Kansas High School Activities Association) will be part of it," said Kim Stahly, a coalition coordinator for Mirror Inc. and coordinator of Harvey County D-Fy.  "... over time we can see a positive change if we work together to help our youth live healthier lifestyles."

Life of a Railer will be introduced by activities director Brian Becker  Aug. 13 during an open house at the school. The first training for students and coaches will be Aug. 17.

National program director John Underwood will speak from 7 to 8 p.m. Aug. 28 at the high school.

"He is awesome," Stahly said. "He is very inspiring and he gives lots of information. I really want people to come."

The middle and high school programs have been utilized in 39 states, with statewide programs in New York, Oklahoma, New Hampshire, and New Mexico. The organization has addressed the NFHSAA and the Department of Education as well as most state Athletic Directors conferences.

For the past 15 years, LOA has traveled the nation informing parents, coaches, administrators and student-athletes on lifestyle choices and their impact on mental and physical performance.

"This initiative represents remarkable collaboration and we have a tremendous opportunity to change the culture by motivating youth to make decisions that will maximize their health and performance in all activities," Stahly said.

Life of an Athlete fosters partnership and collaborations within the school community to support and sustain substance misuse prevention efforts through five core components:

• Codes of conduct —  develop and consistently enforce policies based on the principles of the Restorative Justice model.

• Preseason meetings — develop and incorporate clear messages about the impact of lifestyle choices on athletic performance into existing meetings.

• Coach engagement — skill-building for coaches to positively confront behaviors of concern, to model healthy behavior and to incorporate messages in regular team communications pertaining to the impact of lifestyle choices on mental and physical performance communication.

• Student leadership —  skill-building for youth to positively confront behaviors of concern, to model healthy behavior and to reinforce messages from their coach on the impact lifestyle choices have on mental and physical performance.

• Stakeholder Unity —  build community support for healthy choices as well as adopt and consistently enforce model policies.

Life of an Athlete Human Performance Project has been constantly looking for the most recent research in the important aspects of young people's lives like nutrition, sleep, training, recovery, etc.

It has created manuals that have been constantly updated and used by many high-performance populations.

A former NCAA All-American, international level distance runner and World Masters Champion, Underwood has coached or advised more than two dozen Olympians including many World and Olympic Champions. He holds three International Olympic Solidarity diplomas for coaching and has been a crusader for drug-free sport at all levels. John is an internationally recognized human performance expert, specializing in recovery, peaking training and lifestyle impact on mental and physical performance. John’s innovative programs Human Performance Project and “Life of an Athlete," have gained international prominence. He has appeared as a guest commentator for ABC "Wide World of Sports" for Olympic drug scandals. He has also written model codes of conduct for athlete behaviors of concern.

Underwood has worked with nearly all sport federations including the Department of Education, DEA, Department of Justice, National Federation of High School Athletics, NCAA, NHL, NFL, NBA, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Finland, Japan, Austria, South Africa, Brazil, Taiwan, Romania Olympic Committees, Sport Canada and the International Olympic Committee. Underwood has been Human Performance Consultant for the U.S. Navy SEALS the US Air Force and other Special Military Projects. Most recently, Underwood addressed the world Olympic body at the ASPC Elite Sport Forum in Durban, South Africa, He is also a consultant and frequent presenter to Olympic sport science agencies worldwide.