SOUTH WILLIAMSPORT — Little League Baseball plans to introduce an educational program for coaches and volunteers intended to raise awareness about the use and dangers of performance-enhancing drugs among young players.
Working with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, Little League hopes to have an online program ready for the 2014 season. The youth sports organization had been in discussions with the foundation for more than a year about such a program, well before Major League Baseball announced suspensions recently for more than a dozen players following a lengthy investigation into a Florida anti-aging clinic accused of distributing PEDs.
The most recent batch of suspensions handed down Aug. 5 came less than two weeks before the start of the Little League World Series, which is scheduled to begin Thursday.
Thousands of coaches, along with young players and their families are expected to visit South Williamsport during the 11-day tournament.
More than 2.4 million boys and girls play Little League baseball and softball, according to the organization that also has roughly 1 million volunteers.
A study released in May said that American adults ranked steroid use among adolescents as less of a problem than alcohol, bullying, marijuana and sexually transmitted diseases.
The survey of 1,002 adults conducted by The Gallup Organization last fall found that 97 percent of the respondents believed steroids caused negative health effects, while just 19 percent thought steroid use was a big problem among high school students. The study developed by University of Massachusetts researchers had a margin of error of 4.3 percent.