Donald Hooton and his son, Don, Jr., just returned from a trip to Arizona where they spoke to thousands of kids about the dangers of steroid and appearance-enhancing drug use. The Hootons found out the hard way six years ago how steroids can wreck lives and families: Their son and brother Taylor, who was 16 at the time, committed suicide after crashing into depression after a cycle of steroids. Taylor wanted to “get bigger,” in order to become a starting pitcher on his high school baseball team. His parents had no idea that he was using drugs, and only found out after his funeral, when his teammates let on that steroid use was widespread.
Let’s not forget that 2003 was also the year that 104 MLB ballplayers tested positive for steroid use. I kind of wish that some baseball players would talk to kids about the downside of “getting big” (or in the case of many young girls these days, using drugs to try to get “six-pack abs” or sleek muscles). But the Hootons, who established the Taylor Hooton Foundation in Taylor’s memory, are doing a pretty good job of spreading the word.