The Taylor Hooton Foundation, or THF, is a non-profit organization that aims to educate youth and adults on the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs. Here’s what you need to know about the organization.
What Is Taylor Hooton Foundation?
Taylor Hooton Foundation is a non-profit organization currently leading a national campaign to educate youth – and the adults who influence those youth – on the dangers of Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs.
The reason the Taylor Hooton Foundation calls them “Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs” (APEDs) is because most people don’t actually use PEDs to enhance their performance in sports.
According to a study cited on the official THF website, 62% of people take steroids to enhance their physical appearance – regardless of the performance benefits.
One of the central goals of the Taylor Hooton Foundation is to encourage people to take the pledge “to live and compete #allmePEDfree”, which means you become part of the “All Me League” program.
Other goals of THF include being able to schedule a Hoot’s Chalk Talk, which gives youth an opportunity to discuss the dangers of APEDs with an expert.
Major partners of THF include the MLB, NFL, NHL, and the New York Yankees.
What Are APEDs?
The Taylor Hooton Foundation is leading the battle against APEDs – Appearance and Performance Enhancing Drugs. These drugs – including anabolic steroids – are used in a wide range of disciplines, from bodybuilding to professional sports and even chess
The Taylor Hooton Foundation wants to start education from the youth level, where young people are often encouraged to take APEDs to bulk up.
APEDs are associated “with numerous potentially serious physical and psychiatric side effects”, explains the official Taylor Hooton Foundation website.
The Taylor Hooton Foundation website frequently posts stories about people who have suffered serious problems from their APED usage. Some of the latest stories, at the time of writing, included:
- 23 yr. old steroid user has hip replaced”
- “4 bodybuilders die in 17 days; steroids wreak havoc”
- “Colin Wasdell, 48: Dies from steroid usage”
The THF website features dozens of stories about lives affected by steroid abuse and other APED usage. The website is frequently updated with tragic cases of people – young and old – who have lost their lives due to PED abuse.
The THF “+” Symbol
One of the key identifiers of the THF movement is the use of the + symbol, which the organization describes as a healthy alternative to the asterisk.
The asterisk, as sports fans know, is an infamous symbol used to signify that an athlete’s record has been “tainted” by the use of APEDs.
The + stands in opposition to the *. In the eyes of the THF, it “stands for achievement, accountability and authenticity. It’s that little extra oomph to a great story”.
Taylor Hooton Foundation Programs
The THF leads programs and educational missions across America. The organization’s core educational programs are called Hoot’s Chalk Talk. The Hoot’s Chalk Talk programs provide factual information about the risks of using APEDs and supplements.
They also aim to promote character traits like honor and integrity which are “often lacking among today’s youth”, explains the official website.
Essentially, if you ask the THF to speak to your team, your school, your league, or your organization, they will arrive with professional multimedia presentations discussing the use of PEDs.
Facts About Steroid Usage Among Youth
One of the goals about the THF is to educate people on the prevalence of steroid usage among today’s youth. When people think of steroid users, they tend to think of baseball players and football players.
However, the THF wants to inform people that a growing number of steroid users don’t play sports, and don’t take drugs to improve their performance: they do so to improve their appearance.
The Taylor Hooton Foundation has created a fact sheet. Some of the facts on that page include:
- The median age for first time steroid use is 15
- Over 1.5 million teens admit to using anabolic steroids
- Teen girls are the fastest growing group of new steroid users
- 62.5% of steroid users use steroids to improve their looks
- 57% of steroid users said they would take a pill or powder if it helped them reach their athletic goal, even if it might shorten their life
- It takes 00:01 seconds for a student to find steroids for sale online
- Up to 25% of dietary supplements are spiked
Signs Of Steroid Usage In Youth
Another key goal of the Taylor Hooton Foundation is to educate adults – including parents – about what steroid usage might look like. Some of the key signs include:
- Side effects like the ones listed above (mood swings, oily skin, increased aggression, etc)
- Fast muscle growth
- Locking the bedroom door
- Asking for money
The THF claims that 40% of youth describe steroids as “easy to obtain”. They claim that steroid usage among youth is a “national epidemic” that often goes unnoticed by parents, teachers, coaches, and other influential adults.
The goal of the organization is also to dispel the stereotype that PEDs are only used by high school athletes among young: as mentioned above, teen girls are the fastest growing group of PED users, and the majority of youth take PEDs to enhance their appearance – not their athletic performance.
Who Was Taylor Hooton?
The Taylor Hooton Foundation is named in recognition of Taylor Hooton, a star pitcher on his Plano, Texas high school baseball team. On July 15, 2011, Taylor Hooton killed himself just one month past his 17th birthday.
Taylor was a popular and cheerful teen. He was a star athlete. Outwardly, he showed few warning signs. However, Taylor’s parents and a doctor familiar with the case believe Taylor’s death was related to depression from steroid withdrawal.
Some of the symptoms of steroid withdrawal include lethargy, loss of confidence, melancholy, and hopelessness.
“It’s a pretty strong case that he was withdrawing from steroids and his suicide was directly related to that,” said Larry W. Gibbons, president and medical director of the Cooper Aerobics Center, said in an interview after Taylor’s death.
Ultimately, an estimated 500,000 to 1 million high school kids are using steroids or other APEDs on a regular basis. The Taylor Hooton Foundation was founded with the goal of educating youth and adults on the dangers of APED usage among teens.