Nutritional Supplements for a 6th Grader?
A brief conversation with another Dad on back-to-school night several years ago, when my youngest daughter was in middle-school, was an eye-opener for me. And it has stuck with me ever since. This dad’s son was a new, gung-ho wrestler. The question was simple and innocent: “Dad, will you take me to that vitamin store at the mall? I heard about this drink that can help me build up for wresting.” This kid was in 6th grade! The dad responded with a firm “no, never.” Before we could discuss where the young guy picked up the idea, they called the assembly of middle-school parents to order.
Scenarios like this no doubt occur more often than we would like. And teens are searching for information about steroids and performance enhancing supplements on the internet. Their keyword searches bring them to e-commerce sites touting the benefits of steroids and other so-called performance enhancing substances. Not good. There has to be an alternative voice.
Today, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America and Major League Baseball (MLB) introduced a first-of- its-kind micro-site at www.drugfree.org/playhealthy that focuses on educating teens on the dangers of illegal steroids and other performance enhancing substances (PES).
We hope this site will “interrupt” the teens searching for information long enough to give them pause, and consider healthy ways to get a competitive advantage.
This blog, Coaches Corner, is key part of the new micro-site. It’s really a forum for parents, coaches and athletes to connect with one another and to offer up their own insights, concerns and stories about the dangers and negative consequences of using performance enhancing substances. The blog will feature contributions from coaches, trainers and parents about many aspects of playing healthy.
One good place to start is to check out the 9-page Parent Talk Kit. This guide provides parents and coaches with helpful tips and guidance about talking to kids about this issue, including 8 steps for getting involved, 4 steps for staying connected, and a series of sample “conversation” starters – all around the topic of performance enhancing substances.
You can help by emailing other coaches and parents to let them know about the new site. Please send them the link: www.drugfree.org/playhealthy.
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By Joe Keenan
As executive vice president and director of digital product development, Joe Keenan is responsible for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America’s web communications and operations, including program websites, content development, online advertising and social networking initiatives. In his 8 years at the Partnership, Joe has grown the Partnership’s website, drugfree.org,, from a single site to a suite of robust informational sites and online tools in support of the Partnership’s mission to reduce illicit drug use and support healthy families.
A competitive distance runner since 1974, Joe has competed in two New York City Marathons and many local and regional cross-country races. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two teenage daughters — both avid soccer players in high school and club programs.