NORWALK, Conn. – Local student-athletes and parents will have an opportunity to learn about the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs at a Taylor Hooton Foundation seminar Wednesday at Norwalk City Hall.
While the message is aimed at kids, foundation co-founder Don Hooton Jr. says it's just as important for their parents to attend the seminar. Taylor Hooton committed suicide at the age of 17, and his doctors attributed his death to steroid use.
“The kids that are using these drugs are not looking to escape or get high on the weekends. These are our best kids and our overachievers who think they are looking good,” Hooton says. “Our main issue we’ve had is getting parents to show up. Most parents are oblivious this is happening. ‘It’s not happening to my child,’ they’ll say, but they need to understand and address the issue.”
The Taylor Hooton Foundation was started by Don Hooton Sr. to share the story of his son Taylor with student-athletes in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. With the support of Major League Baseball, the Hootons have taken their message to students and parents all over the country.
“This is a much larger problem than anybody knew,” Don Jr. said. “Connecticut has been one of the most pro-active states as far as educating youth and adults [about PED's]. We’ve spent a lot of time in the high schools there and this will be our fourth time coming back.”
Taylor Hooton was a typical American teenager, growing up in Texas with dreams of playing professional baseball. After his coaches said he didn’t have the size to excel after high school, Taylor began using anabolic steroids without the knowledge of his family or coaches.
“Taylor’s an extreme case, but we provide real-life stories that educate kids,” Don Jr. said. “This stuff is getting into middle schools and high schools. The median starting age [for PED’s] is 15 years old.”
The free seminar will be held on Wednesday from 6 to 8 p.m. at Norwalk City Hall. Student athletes, parents, coaches and trainers are all encouraged to attend.