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Major League Baseball and The Partnership at Drugfree.org Present Fourth Annual Commissioner’s Play Healthy Awards to Exemplary Youth Coach and Teen Athlete

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Josh Wong Photography

~ Coach Steve Carter of Beltsville, Maryland and

Garrett Burk of Laguna Beach, California Are Honored ~ 

New York, NY (December 13, 2013) – Steve Carter, a youth coach and Parks Foundation Director from Beltsville, Maryland and Garrett Burk, a teen athlete from Laguna Beach, California, were honored by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Major League Baseball Charities (MLB), with the fourth annual Commissioner’s Play Healthy Awards. The award recipients were recognized and presented their awards by Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President, Business, during the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’s annual gala at Gotham Hall on Tuesday, December 3rd in New York City.

Judged by a panel of parents, coaches and industry professionals, Coach Carter and Burk were selected from a nationwide competition for their dedication to fair, drug-free play and an overall healthy lifestyle. Winners were chosen based on their commitment to leadership, sportsmanship and encouragement of others on and off the playing field.

Steve Carter coaches baseball for the Boys and Girls Club in Prince George’s County, Maryland. He has had a lifetime love of baseball, both as a player at the University of Georgia, as well as in the Major Leagues with the Pittsburgh Pirates. Since leaving the Pirates and through partnerships with the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball’s RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) program, he has dedicated his life to providing guidance and a better way of life for teens and youth through baseball. Using his love of sports and coaching youth, Coach Carter teaches life skill lessons to many of the young men in his community, showing what they can achieve with hard work and devotion to their goals.

Student-athlete winner, Garrett Burk, maintains a GPA of 4.58 and is also a member of the varsity baseball team at Laguna Beach High School in California. With his commitment to living a drug-free lifestyle, he started the Laguna Prescription Drug Awareness group. He and his fellow student athletes partnered with the Laguna Beach Police Department and local coalitions to help raise awareness about the teen prescription drug abuse epidemic in Southern California. Through his efforts, Garrett also helped to facilitate a permanent prescription drop-box –a way to dispose of unused or expired prescription medicine all year long – and keep them out of the reach of teens and kids.

“Coach Carter and Garrett Burk are two outstanding winners who deserve recognition for the way they have competed and for their commitment to influence others to live healthy lives,” said Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig. “Working with The Partnership at Drugfree.org, Major League Baseball is focused on promoting the importance of clean living, fair competition and helping others. Coach Carter and Garrett are shining examples of these positive attributes and Major League Baseball is proud to honor their efforts.”

“There are so many individuals who give of themselves, their time and their talent to help make other’s lives better. Yet these extraordinary individuals often don’t receive recognition for their selfless contributions. Those facts make it an especially high honor to recognize two local heroes, Steve Carter and Garrett Burk,” said Steve Pasierb, President and CEO of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “The annual Play Healthy Award is further proof that our partners at MLB are steadfast advocates for our work on behalf of children. Together, The Partnership and MLB are proud to commend two people who embody leadership in encouraging both healthy sport and success in life.”

The two winners received a trip to New York City for themselves and one special guest, two tickets each to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’s annual gala, a $500 sporting goods store gift card and a commemorative plaque. Both winners will be featured prominently on drugfree.org.

The Commissioner’s Play Healthy Awards are a culmination of both organizations’ comprehensive nationwide efforts, including the Play Healthy website, to educate families on the risks of steroids and performance-enhancing substances and to recognize youth coaches and student athletes who embody the spirit of teamwork and healthy, drug-free competition. Major League Baseball has supported the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids’s message over the last several years with more than $42 million in media exposure and grassroots initiatives to build awareness for the perils of performance enhancing drug and steroid use. Join the conversation about our Play Healthy efforts, by following #playhealthy on social media.

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About the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

Ninety percent of addictions start in the teenage years. The Partnership at Drugfree.org is dedicated to solving the problem of teen substance abuse. Together with experts in science, parenting and communications, the nonprofit translates research on teen behavior, addiction and treatment into useful and effective resources for both individuals and communities. Working toward a vision where all young people will be able to live their lives free of drug and alcohol abuse, the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids works with parents and other influencers to help them prevent and get help for drug and alcohol abuse by teens and young adults. The organization depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector and is thankful to SAG-AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, please call The Parents Toll-Free Helpline at 1-855-DRUGFREE.

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