The Partnership at Drugfree.org, in conjunction with Major League Baseball Charities (MLB), today announce the fourth annual Commissioner's Play Healthy Awards to celebrate extraordinary individuals on and off the playing field. The awards are an extension of both organizations' comprehensive efforts, including the Play Healthy website, to educate families on the risks of steroids and performance-enhancing substances, and to recognize youth coaches and student athletes who embody the spirit of teamwork and healthy, drug-free competition.
One winning youth coach and one student athlete will receive prizes, including a trip for themselves and one special guest to New York City. The winning coach and athlete will also receive two tickets each to The Partnership at Drugfree.org's annual gala at Gotham Hall on December 3, 2013, where they will be honored. Additional prizes will consist of a $500 gift card to a sporting goods store, a commemorative plaque presented at the gala and the opportunity to be featured prominently on drugfree.org.
A panel of judges will determine the winners by reviewing all nominees who demonstrate their commitment to fair, drug-free play and an overall healthy lifestyle. Additionally, the judges will evaluate the nominee's commitment to leadership, sportsmanship and encouragement of others on and off the field. The applications consist of general information about the athlete or coach and a short essay.
"Major League Baseball is proud to continue our support of The Partnership at Drugfree.org," said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. "It is critically important that we educate everyone involved with youth sports, including coaches, parents and young people, about the importance and benefits of fair and healthy competition. Part of that process is applauding individuals who put these ideals into action, and we are looking forward to recognizing some extraordinary people with the Play Healthy Awards."
"At a time when high-profile athletes across a wide array of sports make headlines for their unfortunate choices to use performance-enhancing substances, there are youth coaches and student athletes that take on the vital role of encouraging healthy play within their schools and communities every day," said Steve Pasierb, President of The Partnership at Drugfree.org. "It is our responsibility to encourage and recognize this model behavior. We're honored to continue to partner with MLB to highlight the positive influence sports can have on a teen's life. The Commissioner's Play Healthy Award is our collaborative effort to educate teens and families across the nation about the risks of steroids and performance-enhancing substances, as well as celebrate the value of healthy competition."
Tom Vicini, a volunteer Little League coach from Lynch, Kentucky and Abby Martinen, a teen athlete from Dover, New Hampshire, were the recipients of the third annual Commissioner's Play Healthy Awards last year.
Nominations may be submitted online at drugfree.org/playhealthy from Thursday, June 20, 2013 to Friday, November 1st, 2013. Nominees for the student athlete award must be between 13 and 18 years old and nominees for the youth coach award must coach teams of students who are between the ages of 13 to 18. If qualified, individuals can nominate themselves or the nomination can be made by someone other than the person being nominated. Winners of the Commissioner's Play Healthy Award will be notified on Friday, November 15, 2013, and announced on Friday, December 6, 2013. Please visit www.drugfree.org/playhealthy for additional contest rules and regulations. Use #playhealthy to follow the conversation on social media.