Don Hooton, a former Little League® dad and President of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, tells a cautionary tale that all children and adults need to hear.
It’s been 10 years since the suicide of Mr. Hooton’s son, Taylor, was linked to anabolic steroid use. In that time, Mr. Hooton has been on a crusade to educate the public at large about the dangers of Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs (APEDs), including a visit to Loyalsock Township High School in Williamsport, Pa. in early December.
“There are people out there that see Performance Enhancing drugs as just a pro sports problem, and nothing could be further from the truth,” said Mr. Hooton. “Some people think that Little League players are too young to hear this message, but research tells us that on average, children as young as 11 years old are experimenting with these drugs.”
Little League International and the Taylor Hooton Foundation have partnered to promote natural training practices, and provide educational vehicles that expose parents, players, local league officials and volunteers to the signs of steroid abuse among children.
“This presentation opened my eyes to the fact that all these products are bad for you, and could put your life at risk,” said Curtis Jacobson, a teacher and a baseball coach at the school.
“It is amazing how uneducated we are about steroids and the ingredients that go into the supplements, energy drinks, and other stuff that you can buy over the counter.”
Dr. Matthew Reitz, Loyalsock Township High School Principal, and a Little League parent, echoed the need for continuing the conversation. “The more we educate, share and stay updated, the more courage parents and children will have to say ‘No’ to the social pressures that draw kids into using these types of drugs.”