ARLINGTON -- Approximately 100 children from around the Arlington area have been invited to attend a national PLAY campaign event Saturday morning at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
The Rangers are hosting the event along with the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Association, the Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation and the Taylor Hooten Foundation. PLAY stands for Promoting a Lifetime of Activity for Youth and is designed to educate children about the need for healthy living and the dangers of steroid abuse.
"We're trying to get children out there playing games, going for walks, riding bikes, all those things," Rangers trainer Jamie Reed said. "This needs to be a part of their lifestyle now and forever. It almost eliminates childhood diabetes, it almost eliminates early orthopedic problems in youth -- and the big thing -- it is proven to help decrease child obesity. That's been growing five percent a year."
The Taylor Hooten Foundation is a non-profit organization founded four years ago and is dedicated to fighting the abuse of steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. Among the Rangers who are expected to participate are outfielder David Murphy, second baseman Ian Kinsler and pitcher Eddie Guardado.
The children participating are divided into groups and rotate through five stations: a "Hoot's Chalk Talk" with Don Hooten about the dangers of steroid abuse, a strength and conditioning station, an injury prevention station, a Ripken Quickball station, and a Q&A station with the attending Rangers players. Each child will receive a PLAY "Pledge Card" to sign along with the Rangers' participating players promising to remain active, make healthy decisions and avoid performance-enhancing drugs.
The PLAY Campaign was created in 2004 to raise awareness about children's health issues because obesity is a major concern in the United States. Since 2004, the program has conducted 35 events inside 20 different MLB ballparks, reaching thousands of children with positive messages about making healthy decisions and living a more active and healthy lifestyle.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.