High School athletes facing more temptation to 'pump up'


by Matt Hobbs


Posted on February 15, 2010 at 7:37 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 15 at 7:37 PM

Student athletes are trying to get the edge when it comes to being bigger, faster and stronger in every sport but now they are under more pressure than ever.

WHAS11's Sports Director Matt Hobbs investigates why more local kids are pumping up.

As the competition for starting jobs on your high school team and for college scholarships goes through the roof, young athletes are under pressure to be the best they can be at any cost.

The pressure on high school athletes to reach their maximum physical potential has never been higher.

Sometimes that means using any means possible to reach those goals of getting bigger, faster, and stronger as fast as possible.

It's sound logic, problem is how some kids are getting there.

"From the second they get into the weight program everyone knows the mantra. Eat fish, pound peanut butter, protein shakes, lots of meals.

 Everyone knows what you have to do to safely and naturally gain weight, but when your 13-years-old and your still 50 pounds less than the nearest senior linebacker you know you have to do something. And the temptation to take an illegal or dangerous,” said one student.

"They always want that magic potion. What supplement can I take to make me run faster? What supplement can I take to make me jump higher?”

That said, supplements are big money in this country bringing in almost $24 billion every single year.

And like any good business, they're trying to win over the next generation of consumer.

But could something relatively beneficial like whey protein shakes help lead a young athlete down the road to something more dangerous?

"It’s a very slippery slope for kids to get into. To start thinking, I’m 10-years-old, I’m 12-years-old, I need to start taking this shake, this bar, this performance enhancing type supplement, because that's something that could lead them to more dangerous things."

It's estimated that anywhere between 3 and 11% of high school seniors have at least tried steroids and they're not hard for anyone to get a hold of.

Like anything else today, steroids are just a few clicks and a credit card away from convenient home delivery. It does appear that after half decade of watching their hero's fall from grace as a result of being labeled as steroid cheats the message is getting through.

"They think that taking this performance enhancer will help them get stronger and better. And it shows, but you know sometimes when you lie and cheat it comes back and gets you in the butt." 
Greg was also quick to point out that most athletes have no real need for supplements, that a solid nutritional plan should give you everything you need to hit your realistic goals.

Also, Senator John McCain is trying to pass a bill that change the guidelines that supplements are currently judge by as far as the FDA goes.

Right now there's a lot of gray area that is leading to a huge health risk.