Padres host PLAY event at Petco Park

Friars pitcher Ross, training staff among those on hand for educational program

SAN DIEGO -- The Padres hosted a National PLAY Campaign event Friday morning at Petco Park, with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, the Henry Schein Cares Foundation and the Padres' athletic training staff collaborating to educate young people and their parents about living active, healthy lives.

Tyson Ross, who is a Taylor Hooton Foundation Advisory Board member, was among those in attendance at the event. He answered questions and talked to children who went on to participate in drills and activities in the outfield and bullpen at Petco Park.

"I think it's just educating them on a healthy lifestyle," Ross said. "You know, understanding that pizza and ice cream are delicious, but they're not the building blocks of nutrition that you need. [Teaching them] how important it is to get out and play."

After peppering Ross with questions like, "Are you really a player on the Padres?" and "Would your brother Joe get a hit off of you?" the children in attendance split up into four groups that went through stations that ranged from healthy eating to injury prevention, to strength and conditioning and stretching.

"Obviously we're teaching kids to get outside, move around -- don't overcomplicate things," said PLAY representive Sam Randbil. "So what we do is go around to all 30 stadiums and work with the athletic trainers like [Padres head athletic trainer] Mark [Rogow] and the Padres' staff, along with the Taylor Hooton Foundation, which educates on performance-enhancing drugs."

After the activities on the field were completed, Taylor Hooton Foundation representative Damian Rodriguez talked about the dangers of using supplements and anabolic steroids.

Rodriguez outlined the healthy levels of caffeine for people under the age of 18, debunked common myths about steroids and also talked about the health risks that come with purchasing and consuming non-regulated supplements.

"A big part of the Campaign is what the Taylor Hooton Foundation does," Randbil said. "Taylor Hooton was a 17-year-old boy who committed suicide after using steroids, so his father and brother started the Taylor Hooton Foundation to go around worldwide and educate on why you shouldn't use performance-enhancing drugs.

"Their message is extremely important to the parents, because eighth-graders, freshmen in high school are even starting to use these drugs. That's what we're focusing on -- letting them express that message and teach kids that you can do it naturally, and with the help of athletic trainers. That's how you do it."

The PLAY (Promoting Lifetime Activity for Youth) Campaign was created in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) to raise awareness about children's health issues in the United States. The campaign is made possible with the support of Major League Baseball Charities, the Taylor Hooton Foundation and the Henry Schein Cares Foundation.

Carlos Collazo is a reporter for MLB.com based in San Diego. Follow him on Twitter @CarlosACollazo. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.