PLAY, which stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth, is a public awareness campaign of the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society® (PBATS), in conjunction with the Taylor Hooton Foundation (www.TaylorHooton.org), and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation. The PLAY Campaign combats child obesity and promotes healthy living and decision making among young people in America.
In 2016, the PLAY Campaign plans to hold events inside all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) ballparks between May and September. In each city, 75-200 area youngsters between ages 8 and 17 will receive the opportunity to take part in PLAY. The MLB club in each city selects a local group of youths to participate in the program. These groups include Boys & Girls Clubs, RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) programs and other local organizations.
PLAY events run approximately two hours in length. The youngsters are divided into groups and rotate through a series of “stations”: a “Hoot’s Chalk Talk” with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, about the dangers of steroid abuse, a strength and conditioning station, an injury prevention station, a nutrition station and a Q&A station with the participating MLB player(s).
Beginning in 2008, PLAY events include the Taylor Hooton Foundation. This component to the campaign educates the participating young people about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs as part of the healthy decision curriculum. In 2013, PLAY added another dimension in the form of the Henry Schein Cares Foundation and their educational station regarding oral health and overall hygiene. They participated in 25 events in 2015 and will host a station at 25 or more events in 2016 as well.
Too many young people today are taking anabolic androgenic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs without any knowledge of the associated dangers. Young people in particular fail to realize the serious risks in taking these drugs—long-term physiological & psychological effects, as well as severe legal consequences. Young people also lack information about how to train the healthy way—without taking drugs and putting their lives and health at risk. Working with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, PBATS has incorporated anti-steroid education within their PLAY Campaign to generate awareness of this problem.
The PLAY program was created in 2004 to raise awareness about young people’s health issues because obesity is a major concern in the United States. Since 2004, PBATS has conducted over 250 PLAY events inside all 30 MLB ballparks reaching thousands of children with positive messages about making smart life choices and living a more active and healthy lifestyle.