PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Millions of American kids are too heavy and don’t get the exercise they need.

Other teens are falling into the trap of performance enhancing drugs to get bigger and stronger.

Because of that, the Pittsburgh Pirates and its training staff decided to do something about it.\

“It’s important just to be a kid, develop a skill set of moving around, a skill set of just being an athlete, not specializing on a baseball specific activity, but just having fun — throwing a baseball, hitting a baseball, and seeing where it goes,” Head Athletic Trainer Todd Tomszyk said.

Todd and the Pirates’ training staff put 120 kids through a big league workout at PNC Park Monday. It is part of an initiative called “PLAY” that stands for promoting a lifetime of activity for youth.

“A lot of kids coming up in our age in high school, they start getting influenced by drugs and all these bad substances. It really can change your life forever,” Alex King, of Upper St. Clair, said.

“You shouldn’t take it, that bad things can happen to your body and you could die,” Callie Sowers, or Irwin, said.
It’s a long shot that any of the kids in the clinic will get a chance to play in front of the Clemente Wall at PNC Park. What we do know is that there is a right way and a wrong way to get there.

“You start little and end up being in these big time drugs and before you know it, your life is out of control and baseball is in the mirror because you are on to bad, bad drugs,” Mark Melancon said.

The Pirates’ closer talked to the kids about avoiding shortcuts, while Brian Parker, of the Taylor Hooton Foundation, addressed the issue of steroids.

“The age of initiation for steroids is 15, and that’s where a lot of these kids are, 15, 16, you know high school. The reality is that high school you start to feel a lot of pressure. It’s not just a performance pressure. There’s a lot of body image pressure on kids as well,” Parker said.

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