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White Sox do part to raise awareness of PED dangers

MLB, Hooton Foundation join forces to educate public about pitfalls of steroid use

White Sox do part to raise awareness of PED dangers

CHICAGO -- The death of his brother, Taylor Hooton, is still rooted in Donald Hooton Jr.'s everyday life, but Donald manifests that sorrow into promise, having made it his mission to rid the use of appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs among the nation's youth.

Taylor took his own life in 2003 after suffering from depression, which was likely related to his use of anabolic steroids.

Donald travels to different cities as the vice president of education at the Hooton Foundation, a non-profit that has become directly involved with Major League Baseball in helping bring awareness to teens about the effects of PEDs, including anabolic steroids and dietary supplements.

Donald's father, Donald Sr., testified in the 2005 Congressional hearings surrounding steroid use in baseball that involved Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, among others.

MLB and the Hooton Foundation have since joined forces with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, whose national public awareness campaign, PLAY (Promoting a Lifestyle of Activity for Youth), hosts events in all 30 ballparks as an education movement showcasing the importance of a healthy and active lifestyle.

PLAY crossed off another Major League event of the season in Chicago on Monday morning with the White Sox, whose representatives conducted roughly two hours worth of drills and seminars across U.S. Cellular Field.

Head athletic trainer Herm Schneider coordinated coaching on agility and proper techniques in batting, pitching and exercise from relief pitcher Nate Jones, hitting coach Todd Steverson and director of conditioning Allen Thomas.

The drills were scattered across both bullpens and center field, and included roughly 60 children from the White Sox Ace Amateur City Elite program, a baseball community comprised of inner-city teens, and The Arc, the nation's largest provider of support and services for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"For what we had and how the kids took to it, today was fabulous," Schneider said. "We're glad to do it. This game is about kids. Adults reap the benefits of it, but it's for kids."

Monday's event put a premium on awareness more than anything. The Hooton Foundation says that 1.5 million youths from ages 12-19 admit to using steroids at some point in their life, and that 62.5 percent do so to improve their physical appearance.

The Hooton Foundation also told participants about the "All Me Challenge" through professional athletes, including White Sox pitcher John Danks, to showcase that success is attainable without PEDs. All-Star Chris Sale raised recognition when he was seen wearing the Challenge T-shirt during a television interview while making a rehab start with Triple-A Charlotte in May.

"Kids can download that pledge, hang it on their wall and say: 'I want to do what that guy is doing,'" Donald Hooton said. "Doing it the right way."

Daniel Kramer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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