We know when kids are involved in sports and other positive activities, this participation is usually a protective factor - a protective factor that helps reduce risky behaviors and use of harmful substances such as alcohol, tobacco and drugs.
Sometimes, though, our athletes get pulled into using substances because they aren't really aware of the danger and damage this use can cause.
To help dispel myths and deliver accurate information to the adults who work with our adolescents and teens, the Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program, along with co-sponsors Health & Welfare Council, Blair Countians for Drug Free Communities, and Academy Performance and Exercise (APEX), is holding a coaches forum that is free and open to all Blair County coaches - any level, any sport.
This important educational presentation will be held at The Casino at Lakemont on Friday from 8 a.m. until noon. A full breakfast will be served to participants, and each will receive three hours of educational training.
Two outstanding speakers, Dr. Sam Monismith from Penn State-Harrisburg and Clint Faught of the Taylor Hooton Foundation in McKinney, Texas, will join us.
Dr. Monismith will provide information about the harmful effects of alcohol on the developing brain, misconceptions regarding stimulants and depressants, the importance of having policies related to drug and alcohol issues in place, and the critical need for positive role models.
Faught's presentation will focus on the dangers of anabolic steroid use.
The Taylor Hooton Foundation was formed in 2004 in memory of Taylor Hooton, a 17-year-old that died as a result of using anabolic steroids.
The THF team believes that education is the primary weapon that should be used to fight the battle of young people using appearance and performance enhancing drugs (APEDs).
Although they are strong proponents of testing (to provide a deterrent), they state that the first priority should be to teach kids about the dangers of using APEDs, to provide them with the knowledge that they need make an intelligent decisions when tempted to use these drugs.
As difficult as it is to believe, recent studies show that 85 percent of student-athletes have never had a parent, coach or teacher talk with them about the dangers of these drugs.
And because this is not just an athletic problem, all students need to be educated on this subject matter.
To register, contact Jackie Clabaugh at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 693-9663. The reservation deadline is Tuesday.
Kathrine Muller serves as prevention educator for Blair County Drug and Alcohol Programs, Inc.