On Sunday, January 26, 2014, Young Men’s Service League boys and mothers filled St. Andrew’s Methodist Church to capacity to hear the important message that Don Hooton had to share with them. Compelled to save other peoples children from the nightmare that became his own when his 17 year old son Taylor hung himself due to depression from anabolic steroid use, Hooton founded the Taylor Horton Foundation. Taylor was an athletic young man, who excelled in baseball, always making the All Stars Teams. By advice of a high school coach, Taylor made the wrong choice of injecting himself with anabolic steroids, like half the guys on the team. Boys and girls alike often turn to steroids to boost their size or strength. What these kids don’t realize is that steroids are illegal for a very good reason-they are dangerous. Steroids aren’t FDA regulated and users don’t know all of the ingredients they contain or the dangers to ones health and life. Hooton has done his research and gave his audience a frightening list of substances found used in preparations of steroids as well as photos taken by DEA during raids of places they are made. One would expect a lab, but no, an unsanitary garage or non sterile basement are where they are manufactured.
One would believe that supplements found in your local stores would be safe. That is not the case. Special guest Leeanne Sparling was horrified when her son Michael, a private in the U.S. Army, collapsed and died from a heart attack at age 22. He was young and healthy, but a bit smaller than his two younger brothers. He was using an over the counter supplement called Jack 3D bought at his local health food store. Perfectly legal and manufactured right here in Texas, what mom would think a supplement could raise the heart rate and blood pressure so high to cause death by heart attack in someone so young? The NSF International is tasked with protecting and improving global health. Hooton advises parents to look for the NSF mark on all supplements. Supplements bearing this mark are deemed safe.
Both of these parents are on a mission to educate students, parents, politicians and sporting leagues of the dangers of both steroids and supplements. Don Hooton launched the Taylor Hooton Foundation with the single purpose of educating young people and their adult influencers about these drugs. However, the Foundation needed exposure, funding, partners, programs and most of all the ability to reach kids—it needed to make an impact. The public relations/marketing firm BHPi helped build the Foundation from the ground up. A partnership with Major League Baseball was made and with Baseball’s support, they provide educational programs with pro trainers and players in all 30 major league parks each season. New York Yankees’ All Star, Alex Rodriguez uses the program as his flagship educational effort. This relationship has helped to reach thousands of young people and helped Rodriguez carry his strong message to kids. Working with the New York Yankees has provided educational programs for schools and youth organizations across the New York Metropolitan area. Major fundraising events at Yankee Stadium have enabled the Foundation to reach out to tens of thousands more kids across the nation.