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Parents, coaches: promote safe, fair play

Youth sports are intended to improve character, instill discipline and promote a healthy lifestyle. But how do you do that when professional athletes continue to abuse performance-enhancing drugs, and some go unpunished? Parents and coaches must take a step toward educating children that these cheating schemes are not worth it.

"As a coach, you want to use the examples we have where people have made poor decisions and use them as a topic in your teaching and mentoring," Chris Peters, a child and adolescent psychiatrist told the Courier Journal. "These are good opportunities to discuss with the next generation on how this really doesn't pay off ultimately."

However, the use of performance​-enhancing drugs, such as in the Lance Armstrong case, comes from the immense pressure put on athletes to succeed and the "anything to win it" attitude. While sports are obviously competitive, parents and coaches should constantly remind children that synthetic strength isn't necessary. By instilling these morals in youth, the next age of professional athletes may be less likely to be pressured into using performance-enhancing drugs.

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