The Reds hosted the 2017 National PLAY Campaign at Great American Ball Park on Monday. The event is designed to teach children the importance of living an active lifestyle and warn against the dangers of anabolic steroids with the help of the Taylor Hooton Foundation.
The PLAY campaign has conducted more than 300 events inside all 30 Major League ballparks, reaching tens of thousands of America’s young people with positive messages about making healthy decisions and living a more active and healthy lifestyle.
Brian Parker, the director of education for the Taylor Hooton Foundation, spoke to the group of around 60 area children first. The Taylor Hooton Foundation teaches children about the dangers of appearance- and performance-enhancing drugs. The organization was created by the friends and family of Taylor Hooton, a 17-year-old baseball player who took his own life in 2003 after using anabolic steroids.
“You’re about to work with the best athletic trainers, the best strength coaches in the entire world,” Parker said to the children. “The same exact guys that work with your favorite players. They’re going to teach you how to do things the right way, exercise, nutrition, all that kind of stuff. I’m here to teach you guys the wrong way. This is the cheating way. The bad way. So you guys are going to get both sides of the picture before you leave here.”
Before heading out on the field, the children heard from Adam Duvall, Reds left fielder and a member of the Taylor Hooten Foundation Advisory Board. Duvall, too, highlighted the importance of educating youth on the effects of APEDs.
“I had a good set of parents who really told me, ‘Look, work hard and you’ll get to where you want to be,'” he said. “And that was important to me, because I didn’t want to take the cheap way and try to cheat. I wanted it to be a fair playing field. … I’m here to convey the message that you can get to the top, you can get to where you want to be by working hard and doing things the right way.”
From there the children broke into four groups and went through a series of stations with drills that touched on everything from healthy eating, injury prevention and strength and conditioning. They worked with resistance bands, played tug of war and even showed off their home run trots as Duvall and the training staff gave a few pointers.
For more information on the campaign, visit pbats.com/play.