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Originally published Sunday, October 9, 2005 at 12:00 AM

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The grieving family: They believe their son killed himself after he stopped taking steroids

"I can only hope and pray that Taylor is proud of what we're doing. I talked to Taylor that morning just a couple minutes before we went...

Don Hooton runs the Taylor Hooton Foundation in honor of his late son, who committed suicide in 2003. The family believes that Taylor, then a 17-year-old high-school athlete, killed himself after he stopped using anabolic steroids.

"I can only hope and pray that Taylor is proud of what we're doing. I talked to Taylor that morning just a couple minutes before we went in to testify to Congress. 'Taylor, sit there next to me. I hope you're proud of what your old man's doing.' We're doing our best to see that Taylor's life was not lost in vain.

"The day after the hearings, [baseball commissioner] Bud Selig called. He had a lot of sympathy. He said he was sorry for what happened to Taylor. He realized what a profound responsibility Major League Baseball has in dealing with the problem of the kids. The result of which was ultimately a $1 million commitment to the foundation. Now, we can grow and really make a difference.

"We've had probably three dozen calls from families like ourselves who have lost a son or a brother or a friend to steroid use. There are others out there.

What they're saying

The think tank: Peter Roby, director for the Center for the Study of Sport in Society.

The U.S. Olympian (turned doctor): Jennifer Devine, Olympic rower and UW graduate.

The insider: This Olympic coach wishes to remain anonymous.

The grieving family: They believe their son killed himself after he stopped taking steroids.

The face: Dr. Gary Wadler, a leading expert whose phone rings constantly.

The educator (former steroids user): Greg Schwab, now principal at Mountlake Terrace H.S.

The Eastern Bloc athlete (turned doctor): Dr. Anna Ragaz swam for Czechoslovakia.

The gene therapist:
Dr. Theodore Friedmann, a leading expert in the field.

The author: Will Carroll wrote "The Juice: The Real Story of Baseball's Drug Problems."

"We've gotten calls from, and these are the most difficult to handle, from an individual mom or dad or brother or sister: 'My brother is doing this, he's depressed, he's in jail, he's talking about suicide.'

"It's way more prevalent than people think. The challenge is to get them to recognize this is a problem on my kid's team, in my kid's school. It may not be going on in my kid's bedroom, but it could be going on at a neighbor's or a friend's house. It's a lot closer to you than you think it is. It's not just somebody's problem somewhere else.

"We talk to other people who have been through exactly what we did. The basic story is the same. It's just confirmation — very, very personal confirmation that we're on the right track. This stuff is deadly. And people need to know about it."

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