ANAHEIM -- For 15 years, the Taylor Hooton Foundation has been educating young athletes about the dangers of anabolic steroid usage. Royals utility man Chris Owings is proud to be a part of their mission.
“I think it’s just about raising awareness,” said Owings, who became a THF board member while he was with the D-backs in 2017. “It’s for a great cause. I think a lot of guys in this clubhouse and in the big leagues do a great job taking care of their bodies, doing it the right way. Every kid from high school on should be doing that.
“You’ve kind of seen some athletes get popped for PEDs. To be in this game, we get to play every single day, you’ve gotta do the right things.”
The Hooton Foundation formed in 2004 in memory of Taylor Hooton, whose untimely death at age 17 came after using steroids. This season, a record 42 active Major Leaguers are serving on the THF board, with Owings and Alex Gordon representing the Royals. Members are participating in the “All Me” public service campaign, which will appear in team publications, as well as materials for the 2019 All-Star Game, League Championship Series and World Series.
“The Taylor Hooton Foundation is simply overwhelmed by the support that these elite athletes and Major League Baseball provide to send such an important and positive message to our young people that they, too, can accomplish all of their dreams without the use of these dangerous and often illegal substances,” THF president Donald Hooton, Jr. said in a press release.
The Hooton Foundation’s work is important, in part, because it gives players a chance not just to discourage the use of steroids, but also to educate young athletes about proper self-care and recovery techniques -- the sort of behind-the-scenes work one might not be aware of from simply watching games.
“It’s tough, because not a lot of people see what you do off the field,” said Owings. “Whether it’s what you put in your body, what you’re doing in the weight room, how you’re recovering with hydration, it’s not easy for fans to see that kind of stuff.”
Gordon, in his fifth season as a THF board member, is a prime example of someone who embodies that kind of work ethic, according to Owings.
“Gordo does a great job,” says Owings. “You look at him, he’s 35 years old, but you wouldn’t be able to tell, just the way he’s handled his body and the way he’s done a great job of staying in great shape to be able to play this game.”