CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. – Tennessee Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher is delivering an important message to thousands of high school athletes and teenagers across the state this fall—compete healthy and avoid performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). In radio public service announcements now airing, Fisher, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA) are urging students to not use steroids or other dangerous PEDs.

The 30-second and 60-second radio PSAs are the newest feature of the Healthy Competition program, developed by BlueCross in 2000 to address the alarming use of PEDs among teenage athletes and their peers and encourage drug-free, safe play by educating young athletes, coaches and parents about the consequences of PED use.

“Performance-enhancing drug use is growing among middle and high school students, and BlueCross is proud to partner with TSSAA and Coach Fisher to spread the word about this issue,” said Scott Wilson, sponsorship project manager for BlueCross. “Healthy competition is about being strong, both on and off the field. It is important for Tennessee’s young athletes to be aware of PEDs dangers and make informed, responsible choices.”

As many as 1.1 million young people ages 12-17 have taken PEDs or sports supplements. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, steroid use more than doubled among U.S. high school students between 1991 and 2003.

“This is not a problem that is going away anytime soon, and it is imperative that we take a stand against performance-enhancing drugs,” said Tennessee Titans Coach Jeff Fisher. “Whether it’s an NFL player or a high school athlete, PED use has many risks, one of which could be death. Education is the first step in shifting the perception that this kind of competition is acceptable.”

Other elements of the Healthy Competition program include an informational brochure on PEDs, a tip sheet for parents and coaches on talking to teens about the problem, and a handout coaches can provide to athletes to educate them about the dangers of PED use and ways to train safely. Additionally, an informative Web site, www.HealthyCompetitionTN.org, will launch in October.

This fall, BlueCross will begin surveying high school coaches, administrators, athletes and parents about PEDs. BlueCross and TSSAA hope the results from these surveys will help better measure the scope of PED use across Tennessee.

For more information on BlueCross Healthy Competition, contact Scott Wilson with BlueCross at (423) 535-7409 or visit www.HealthyCompetitionTN.org.

About Healthy Competition

To address the growing problem of performance-enhancing drug (PED) use among Tennessee’s young athletes, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee has developed the Healthy Competition program to encourage drug-free and safe play and educate young athletes, coaches and parents about the dangers of PEDs. For more information, visit www.HealthyCompetitionTN.org.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.