The truth about steroids

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Donald Hooton Jr. speaks to students at the University of Regina to educate them about performance enhancing drugs

Autumn McDowell
Sports Writer

Sometimes becoming bigger, faster, and stronger is not always better.

Donald Hooton Jr. of the Taylor Hooton Foundation came to the University of Regina last week to educate students – in particular varsity athletes – about the dangers surrounding the use of performance-enhancing drugs in sports. The presentation was called Hoot’s Chalk Talk.

Numerous members of the U of R sports teams and the community were in attendance to hear the valuable lecture.

The Taylor Hooton Foundation was founded in 2004 in order to “educate the North American youth and their adult influences about the dangers of anabolic steroids.” The Hooton family started the organization after one of their sons, Taylor E. Hooton, committed suicide at the age of 17 as a result of his anabolic steroid use. Taylor was a young, athletic, and popular kid with dreams of making it as a professional baseball player. He saw steroids as the way to reach the next level.

“Taylor began injecting himself with hardcore steroids in order to be the number one pitcher on his varsity baseball team,” explained Taylor’s father Don. “He would purchase one cycle of illegal steroids for $375 from the local YMCA.”
After being advised to stop taking steroids by a psychiatrist, there were noticeable changes in Taylor’s behaviour.

“Taylor began acting out in very strange ways,” said Don. “He went into a serious depression and ended up taking two belts and hanging himself”.

Taylor’s story has had an incredible impact all over North America. There were 3,500 people that attended his funeral and the news of this young athlete’s death continues to draw attention.

The Hooton family has used the attention around Taylor’s tragic death in order to make a positive impact on other young athletes’ lives.

The Hooton family believes that the prospect of steroid use is everywhere, and kids are being exposed to the idea of a perfect overly muscular specimen on television, by their favourite athletes and even by current action figures. 

With Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez constantly in the media for steroid use, and Superman action figures progressing from depicting an average wimpy kid to a clear steroid addict, kids are getting the wrong message about the use of these drugs.

Taylor’s father Don believes that “the poor example being set by professional athletes is a major catalyst fuelling the high use of steroids among kids.”

There is a misconception that steroids are only used by male athletes who intend to elevate their game to the next level. However, it has been shown that young high school girls are the fastest-growing steroid users.

It has also been shown that 62.5 per cent of steroid users take steroids in order to improve their physical appearance. The Hooton family believes that the media and professional sports organizations have a lot to do with this increasing number.
Taylor’s father was one of the most influential people to speak at the baseball hearings last year. He spoke on behalf of parents everywhere and noted that he believes that professional athletes have the power to do something about the growing issue of steroids use.

It is the hope of the Hooton family that giving these talks to students across North America will help control the drug problem in sports.

“Taylor did not have the opportunity to be exposed to this information, because no such program existed at the time,” said Don. “If he had been exposed, maybe he would still be with us today.”

What the Hooton family was forced to go through was nothing short of a tragedy, but it was through this tragedy that the process of saving many other lives began. The Hooton family believes that “education is the key to success” if they are going to win the battle against performance enhancing drugs.

To learn more about the Taylor Hooton Foundation, visit taylorhooton.org.

Dangers of steroids

General effects

Addiction to steroids
Bad breath
Balding
Bones can stop growing
Blood clotting disorders
Elevated cholesteral and triglycerides
Extreme acne on the back, shoulders and chest
High blood pressure
Hypertension
Increased chance of injury to tendons, ligaments, and muscles
Jaundice, trembling, aching joints
Liver cysts / liver cancer
Oily skin
Puffy cheeks

Boys

Cancer
Grow breasts
Impotence/sterility
Low sperm count
Premature balding
Prostate growth
Testicular atrophy

Girls

Breast shrinkage
Enlarged clitoris
Deepened voice
Irregular periods
Male body hair (e.g. beard)
Male pattern baldness
Potential birth defects

Facts courtesy of taylorhooton.org

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