January/February 2008

St. Joseph Program Steers Young Athletes Away from Steroid Abuse

01-08john tolmie

John Tolmie

As the release of the Mitchell Report draws more attention to the abuse of anabolic steroids and human growth hormone in major league baseball, Powered by ME!, a program of St. Joseph Medical Center, Towson, Md., has been working to steer young athletes away from performance-enhancing substances. “Former Senator Mitchell’s call — to bring the era of steroids and human growth hormone abuse to an end — is exactly why, a year ago, we launched Powered by ME!” said John Tolmie, president and chief executive officer of St. Joseph. “We want to change the ‘win at all costs’ mindset among young athletes.” The program, funded by a grant from the Catholic Health Initiatives Mission and Ministry Fund, functions on a grassroots level by working with schools, health clubs, youth sports leagues and similar programs. Powered by ME! seeks to deliver a simple message to student athletes: the use of performance-enhancing substances is tantamount to cheating and can even be life-threatening. The program was the topic of recent articles in the Baltimore Sun and USA Today. “We’re hoping it becomes a national prototype,” said Bill Frank, coordinator of Powered by ME! “The reception from the kids has been phenomenal, overwhelming. They’re paying attention.” The program has the support of Representative Elijah Cummings of Maryland, a member of the congressional committee looking into steroid use. Cummings recently recruited Baltimore Orioles star Brian Roberts to volunteer with powered by ME! Roberts has agreed to appear at a daylong conference on April 18 to educate 500 student athletes and coaches about the health risks of steroids. Other Powered by ME! partners include the Maryland State Department of Education, Sheppard Pratt Health System and Towson Sports Medicine. For more information, visit www.poweredbymemd.com.