Whether it is a potential college scholarship or just helping their team win, some teenage athletes feel pressure to do whatever it takes to get an "edge", even to the point of taking anabolic steroids or other illegal, performance-enhancing substances.
In an attempt to reduce teen steroid use, the Ad Council is sponsoring a new public service ad (PSA) campaign and companion website called "Don't Be An Asterisk."
The campaign gets its name from the asterisk that originally found its way into sports in 1961 - when Major League Baseball commissioner Ford Frick decided that the new single-season home run record set by the Yankee's Roger Maris of 61 homers would be accompanied by an asterisk to denote the fact that it was set over a 162-game season eight games longer than the 1927 season in which Babe Ruth had hit 60 homers - but which has been given a whole new meaning in the 2000's as denoting records tainted by an athlete's suspected steroid use.
The well-designed and visually appealing website includes:
- A "From the Lab to the Locker Room" timeline on the development of steroids;
- A page where the user can click on different parts of the male and female anatomy to learn the dangerous and multi-faceted affects of steroid abuse on various parts of the body, internal organs, reproductive systems, head/skin/hair, and brain.
- Nutritional and psychological tips for peak athletic performance without steroid use
- Video and written testimonials from Olympic athletes on how the use of steroids by their teammates and competitors tainted their own accomplishments or deprived them of a once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the "thrill of victory", and sing the National Anthem on the top step on the medal podium; and
- FAQ and "Did You Know" fact sections.
- TV, radio and print ads running as part of the campaign, including a powerful television spot featuring a teenage steroid user with a large pimple on his forehead (one of the signs of steroid use) which, to the shock of fans, is eventually is replaced with a large asterisk when he is handed his MVP trophy at an awards ceremony.
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