High schoolers looking at brains over braun

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Local athletes not pumped on steroid news

By Chris Cannon




That’s the new name many people have given to Alex Rodriguez following his recent scandal with steroids in the MLB.

Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games, the most in more than 100 years.

He would also have to forfeit any play in the post season the Yankees may have to play. Rodriguez would not be allowed in those games.

As year pass, more and more athletes are being caught using performance-enhancing drugs, but just how do the numbers stack up on a more local level?

Following the recent influx of steroids in the news, the LaFollette Press surveyed 62 high school athletes in the Campbell County area.

While performance enhancing drugs may be on the rise on the major levels, high school students seem to be understand the risk, as all 62 of the un-named athletes said they do not take steroids.

However, 41 of the 62 surveyed said that more than “Not Many” students possibly use steroids. Of those, 17 percent of the answers were half or more of high school athletes use steroids on a regular basis.

“Out of 10, maybe two,” Nick Bailey said. “I would honestly say two.”

“I know a few that do them,” Ethan Jeffers continued. “Obviously, you can tell some of the people that do them. They’re just hurting themselves. Later in life, it’s not going to be good. It’s got a lot of consequences.”

For Bernard Childress, Executive Director of the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association, knowing the athletes are educated about those dangers is the biggest part of his job.

“Our position statement we send to the schools is that we strongly oppose of the use of performance enhancing drugs,” Childress said. “There are set on our level and the national Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. We suggest items to educate these schools on how to deal with these supplemental decisions.”

However, there’s no real drug test for the use of steroids on the high school level.

According to Childress, the enforcement comes on locally-based rules.

“All of the things we do, as far as performance-enhancing drugs is support based,” Childress said. “Policing those comes at a local level.

“We do have several schools that drug test on their level. I do not see our board ever implementing the statewide drug tests. Some systems test all athletes, while some test all students.”

Of those that test, Gallatin and Greeneville are two examples.

However, the students felt it should be a statewide issue.

Many of the athletes were split down the middle, as 35 of the 62 students said they were in favor of statewide drug testing.

Of those 35 athletes, 57 percent (20 athletes) believed testing should have a strict policy.

For senior Corey Phillips, the solution may never come to the steroid problem.

“I’m going to be honest with you,” Phillips said. “I don’t think it’s ever going to go away. I know people who’ve done them. I really don’t like it. There’s really no way they can stop what’s going on. They can drug test, but people are going to take them. It’s just something that’s going to be here for a while.”

While many of the athletes voted for stricter policies, the final results were shocking.

One question was asked, “Would you ever consider steroids if it meant a chance to play in college or beyond?”

The answers revealed that 10 of the 65 students said they would consider or maybe consider using steroids to better themselves. Four athletes didn’t answer.

To Jeffers, however, that’s not the right way to reach your goal.

“It might be [a means to a high playing level], but the chances for you becoming a big NFL, NBA or MLB player are slim,” Jeffers said. “Can you make it? Yea, you can, but you’ve got to work your way there. You’ve got to work for it and be true to yourself to get there.

“There’s different way, such as putting in extra work or getting an extra lift. You can do more workouts by yourself. There’s so many ways that help. It might take 10 times the effort, but it’s going to be a lot better in the long run if you just do the extra. It’ll be a life lesson for you.”

Matt Price, defensive coordinator for Campbell County High School, said people think high school athletes use steroids, but it’s just the natural changes in their body.

“I really don’t [are using performance-enhancing drugs],” he said. “I think there’s that perception sometimes, but when kids are growing like that, they change so drastically. I don’t think it’s a supplement. You hear a lot of times about [different steroids], but their bodies are changing, plus they’re working out. Their bodies change so fast, people automatically assume there’s some kind of enhancer when there’s really not.”