LOS ANGELES -- The NFL Network, a 24-hour TV network dedicated to the National Football League and the sport of football, has launched a national youth fitness initiative called Keep Gym in School, which supports physical education in schools and raises awareness about the importance of physical activity as part of education.

Keep Gym in School is funding refurbishments for physical education programs at four select schools and is hosting NFL minicamps to get kids active and assess their fitness levels. Students will participate in follow-up testing to determine the local performers who will earn trips to a national honors event held during the week of the NFL Draft next April in New York.

Keep Gym in School has created a series of football-inspired lesson plans and a fitness assessment program in collaboration with the National Association for Sport and Physical Education. The initiative has also incorporated the President’s Challenge, a physical activity and fitness recognition program of the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

The NFL Network is rolling out the program with Cox Communications in Fairfax County, VA; Wichita, KS; New Orleans; and Phoenix. NFL teams supporting Keep Gym in School in its first year are the Washington Redskins, Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Arizona Cardinals. Participating NFL players include Redskins wide receiver Antwaan Randle El, Chiefs linebacker Donnie Edwards, former Chiefs guard Will Shields, Saints running back Deuce McAllister and Cardinals quarterback Kurt Warner.

To expand the program nationally, Keep Gym in School will provide one additional school with a $10,000 grant to improve its physical education program. The NFL Network will offer an online adoption contest open to any middle school nationwide at www.KeepGyminSchool.com. Students, parents, teachers and other community members can nominate their school for the grant at the Web site.