Taylor Hooton Foundation
for a comprehensive education program in the Arlington
Independent School District. The program will educate middle and high
school students on the dangers of anabolic steroids and other
performance-enhancing drugs. According to Rangers managing partner and
CEO Chuck Greenberg, the program will include presentations at every
Arlington ISD middle and high school. (No word yet on whether the
program will reach out to other districts in the state.)
With steroid-testing in Texas on the brink of elimination for tens of
thousands of Texas high school student-athletes, news came late last
week that the Texas Rangers Baseball Foundation has partnered with the
"School assemblies are an effective way to make sure that everyone gets the message of how dangerous steroids are," reports Without The Juice,
a parent-run website promoting the dangers of using
performance-enhancing drugs. "Surprisingly, the fastest-growing groups
of steroid users are young girls and non-athletes.
Thus, steroids aren’t always used to enhance performance, but appearance. This added motivation to take steroids makes it all the more
important that kids learn to resist peer pressure."
"Anabolic steroid use continues to be a growing problem among our
nation's youth," says Don Hooton, president of the Hooton Foundation — a
non-profit corporation formed in memory of Taylor E. Hooton, a high
school student-athlete from Plano, Texas, who took his own life at age
17 in 2003 as a result of anabolic steroid use. "The most powerful
weapon that we have to fight this battle is education."
Before long, it might be the only way to fight that battle. Back in 2008, Texas
became the third state in the country to randomly test 700,000 high
school student-athletes, setting up a massive $6 million program. After
the first 50,000 tests yielded fewer than two dozen confirmed cases, the
program's budget was slashed to $2 million in 2009. The budget for
2010-11 is reportedly $750,000, and a total of 4,560 athletes were
scheduled to be tested this academic year, compared with 35,077 in
But now, with Texas facing a projected $15 million buget shortfall, an
early House budget draft has eliminated all funding for the
steroid-testing program, in which the cost can exceed $100 per test; a
Senate draft still includes money for testing. New Jersey and Illinois have similar programs in place, but Florida discontinued its efforts in 2009.
Supporters of the testing, including Hooton, say the program acts as a
deterrent and that eliminating it would only encourage steroid use.
“It’s like a school district that has a serious gun violence problem and
puts up metal detectors,” Hooton — who favors a smaller-scale program
that would target sports most likely to breed PED users — told the Associated Press.
“When gun violence goes down, they say ‘Well, that’s a waste of money,
let’s take the metal detectors away because we don’t have a problem
Jeff Horn, principal at Green Valley High in Henderson, Nev., calls the
Texas Legislature's funding excuse a "cop out." Green Valley started
Nevada’s first public school drug-testing program in 2008 and hasn’t had
a positive test yet for steroids. But that won't stop him from
continuing the program after federal grant money runs out this year, he told the AP. “It’s not about athletics anymore,” Horn said. “It’s about saving lives.”