The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

October 25, 2012

Ex-NFL player speaks to students

By Carra Higgins
Register-Herald Reporter

— To encourage students in Raleigh and Wyoming counties to be drug and alcohol free, Fellowship of Christian Athletes of South Central West Virginia enlisted the help of former Denver Broncos player Steve Fitzhugh. The former NFL player travels the country promoting the FCA’s One Way 2 Play program.

Appearing Wednesday afternoon before students at Park Middle School, Fitzhugh encouraged the youngsters to rise above peer influence and create a positive future for themselves, a future without drugs and alcohol.

Fitzhugh didn’t use the typical “just say no” message, though. He shared personal stories, including one about his brother, who was never able to play football at the college level because he died from using the drug Ecstasy when he was 18 year old. He explained, even through a rap song, how he chose to remain drug-free and better his life, unlike members of his family.

“You can be an eagle or you can run with the chickens,” Fitzhugh said to students.

Mike White, FCA South Central West Virginia area director, explained the organization is reaching out to more than 7,000 students in Raleigh and Wyoming counties as a way combat drug abuse that has become so prevalent in the region. Between 85 to 90 percent of students who have attended Fitzugh’s motivational talk have signed a pledge to remain drug and alcohol free, White said.

The One Way 2 Play program encourages students to confront the problem of drug use among students by instilling values, encouraging goal-setting and establishing accountability through positive peer pressure.

White said the FCA hopes to continue this program for at least the next six years with the goal of seeing measurable results in drug use decline among youth.

— E-mail: chiggins@register-herald.com