Keeping high school athletes off steroids

Monday, December 6th 2004, 10:14 am
By: News On 6

Steroid use is back in the headlines now that one pro ballplayer has admitted using and others are suspected. How is that going to affect a whole new generation of young athletes who admire that star power?

News on 6 reporter Heather Lewin says when they see their heroes signing multi-million dollar deals, and then backing those home runs with illegal performance enhancing drugs, many young athletes wonder do you have to cheat to make it to the top?

Jenks athletic trainer Herb Rhea says it's tough to combat the influence of the pros and it's naive to think no high school kids are taking steroids. Jenks athletes undergo drug testing, although not specifically for steroids unless they're suspected.

Rhea says that, along with educating the players about the dangers, including infertility, liver and heart problems, is the best coaches can do. He says when major league use hits the headlines; it makes his job that much harder. "They read newspapers and they want the scholarship and you know, their best buddy two years ago got the scholarship and he was on steroids and how do we combat that?"

Rhea says the one thing that will really make a difference for high schoolers is setting an example with a zero tolerance policy at the pro-level, more frequent testing and stricter penalties for steroid use, something the MLB players' union has long opposed.