Steroid Testing for High School Athletes
|A child can go into GNC in the mall, or any other health store, and purchase a creatine supplement, whey-protein supplement, or some other type of muscle stimulant without knowing whether or not that product will test positive on steroid test. |
Under Senate Bill 8, which passed in the last legislative session, athletes that participate in UIL sanctioned activities may be required to submit to random testing for illegal steroid use. Under the new bill, the UIL will randomly test about 30% of the high schools throughout the state. The number of students to be tested will be between 20,000 and 25,000, which is approximately 3% of the totals athletes in Texas Schools. The testing is set to begin this fall upon the completion of the UIL selecting the testing company.
If a student tests positive for steroids, or refuses to take the test, the UIL will require a 30 day period of ineligibility from all athletic competitions. The second offense carries the penalty of an entire year of ineligibility, and the third offense permanently removes the athlete from all athletic competition. Recent studies show that steroid abuse occurs in 1.5 percent of athletes in grades 7-12 in the State of Texas.
While I agree with educating children about the effects of steroid use, I do have some concerns with the procedures that will be followed. It is important for parents and students to understand that there are supplemental products that will cause the steroid test to come back positive. This is where I have a real concern. A child can go into GNC in the mall, or any other health store, and purchase a creatine supplement, whey-protein supplement, or some other type of muscle stimulant without knowing whether or not that product will test positive on steroid test. The UIL has warned that such products will produce a positive result and will carry the same penalty as if the student was injecting anabolic steroids. It seems a little odd to me that a student can legally purchase a product from a health store, yet the UIL can punish them for using it. I am not condoning the use of supplements; however, it just seems peculiar that a legal product can be illegal in this particular instance. Regardless, it is important to understand the implications of using such products. It would be very unfortunate for us to lose an athlete because they did not know the significance of this new UIL rule.
If you would like to read about this new testing program in further detail, you can get on the UIL website and read more about the new program. www.uil.edu.tx