Are Alternative Sports Supplements Really Safe for Teen Athletes?
As the school year gets running again, the practices and games of the student athletes will also begin, and a part of that will include the use of performance enhancing substances – from energy boosters to drugs – of some kind, for many of those students.
According to the NCAA substance abuse trainer, Mike Gimble, who heads a program that is called Powered by Me!, “Each year in the US over 25 percent of high school athletes will use some type of performance-enhancing drug, and well over 50 percent will use some type of energy-enhancing substance.” This is leading many people to wonder what impact some of these various alternative supplements are having on their health.
Though many of the products that are being used by the student athletes are quite legal, said Gimble, many of them are not. Most of the kids don’t belong to the number of students who are using actual anabolic steroids to help to boost their performance. It is estimated that 5 percent of student athletes are using those drugs. Many of the rest, however, are going to the internet or to a health food store to buy some form of energy enhancer or muscle boosting supplement, regardless of the ingredients that it contains, or that they have little to no understanding of what they are and how they work.
It is clear that students are under a large amount of pressure when they are in an athletics program. This comes from the student him or herself, as well as coaches, teammates, and other students in the school. It is, therefore, not a mystery what is driving the kids to try to grab at any advantage that they can. They not only want to get bigger and stronger, but they need to do it as fast as they possibly can.
Parents of teens are now being urged, by many medical and health officials, to talk to their kids and discuss the realities of using alternative supplements to try to give their bodies a boost beyond what practice, exercise, and proper nutrition can provide. If they can’t discourage their children from actually using the products, the it is at least recommended that they learn to ask three very vital questions about any product that they are considering, and not ever use it until they have received objective, thorough answers. These questions are:
- Is this alternative performance enhancer truly necessary?
- Is it safe?
- Has this product or any of its ingredients been banned by the governing body of the sport?