Are young athletes being pushed too far to always perform at higher and higher expectations? Taking vitamins are highly recommended by doctors, but there are some supplements that are illegal for use in high school sports. New pre-workout supplements cause new high school drug policies, research into both the active ingredients and short/long term effects of these products. These pre-workouts are this generation’s steroids and can have side effects that are just as dangerous. Their purpose is to provide you with a burst of quick and long lasting energy, increased blood flow, muscle growth, and faster recovery periods. Their popularity is growing faster than the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) can research them and provide more information on what these products truly do to your body, such as whether they are actually safe for young adult athletes to use.
First it should be recognized that all pre-workout supplements are to be only purchased by those who are eighteen years of age and above, though these regulations are flawed (MSHSL) . Stores will rarely ask for identification and focus more on the sale of their products. But no matter what age, if the athlete takes these pre-workouts during a high school sport, the athlete will face game suspensions.
The Minnesota State High School League states that student athletes are not allowed to ingest in any way supplements containing the chemicals creatine, androstenedione, ephedrine, or any other similar or performance enhancing drugs unless under direction of a licensed medical professional. They also reserve the right to at any time randomly drug test all athletes participating in high school sports. The MSHSL bases their policies off of the World Anti-Doping Agency prohibited list, which is also used for professional sports and the Olympics.
These policies are designed to reduce liability on coaching staff and schools, make sure the students do not take too much of these substances, and ensure the fairness of these sports to keep their integrity (WADA). Another reason they continue to prohibit such products are because they cannot control what is in them and how much each individual consumes (MSHSL). Keeping their students safe is extremely important to the schools and they do not have enough information on the short-term effects as well as the long-term effects that could cause harm to their student athletes. Lastly, upholding school and state ethics is the MSHSL main goal and they would rather be safe than sorry.
First off the reason why these chemicals stay illegal for high school sports is a lack of research, but what is known about pre-workouts and their active ingredients? Well, the most popular active ingredients in pre-workouts are creatine, beta-alanine, citrulline, and caffeine (Stoppani).
Creatine is popular amino acid that is not an essential nutrient for the human body (Stoppani). It primarily works by supplying a boost of energy to cells, especially muscle cells. In turn, this...