National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) Honors The Cooper Institute


RESTON, VA – The National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) will honor The Cooper Institute of Dallas, TX, with the Ross Merrick National Recognition Award for the organization’s longtime commitment to childhood health and physical activity, and particularly the development and continued improvement of the FITNESSGRAM assessment tool. Past inductees of the National Recognition Award include the American Heart Association, Hershey Foods Corporation, Michigan State University’s Youth Sports Institute, National Federation of State High School Associations, Polar Electro, President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Project Adventure, Reebok International, and the United States Olympic Committee.

NASPE Past President Jackie Lund of Georgia State University will present the award to The Cooper Institute Chief Executive Officer Fred Meyer at the national convention of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) in Ft. Worth, TX, this week. The presentation will be made at NASPE’s Hall of Fame Banquet on Friday, April 11, where the National Physical Education Teachers of the Year for Elementary, Middle and High School, the National Physical Education Administrator of the Year as well as the Athletic Director of the Year Award will be announced. Olympic track and field gold medalist Carl Lewis will be inducted into the NASPE Hall of Fame.

According to NASPE President Craig Buschner of California State University at Chico, “The Ross Merrick National Recognition Award is given to an organization that has done exceptional work in supporting physical activity, physical education, or sport as it relates to NASPE’s mission and has supported NASPE as an organization.”

FITNESSGRAM is used in approximately 67,000 schools across the country and it serves as the assessment component of NASPE’s Physical Best program. FITNESSGRAM’s criterion-referenced standards determine students’ fitness levels based on what is optimal for good health. The tool is invaluable to physical education teachers because it provides a communications vehicle in which they can share important fitness testing results with students and parents in a way that is meaningful and understandable.

Recently the Texas Education Agency selected FITNESSGRAM as the statewide physical fitness assessment. This will require the annual testing of over four million students in Texas each year. In an unprecedented commitment to childhood health and physical activity The Cooper Institute will forgo any royalty from FITNESSGRAM programs implemented in Texas for the first year.

The preeminent national authority on physical education and a recognized leader in sport and physical activity, the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) is a non-profit professional membership association that sets the standard for practice in physical education and sport. NASPE’s 16,000 members include: K-12 physical education teachers, coaches, athletic directors, athletic trainers, sport management professionals, researchers, and college/university faculty who prepare physical activity professionals. The mission of NASPE is to enhance knowledge, improve professional practice, and increase support for high quality physical education, sport and physical activity programs through research, development of standards, and dissemination of information. It is the largest of the five national associations that make the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation & Dance (AAHPERD). To assess whether your child is receiving a quality physical education program, visit for an observation assessment tool.

April 7, 2008