Testing seeks to aid athletes emotionally

Madeleine Salah, asst. sports

For the third year, the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) will continue their performance-enhancing-substance testing program, which randomly tests student-athletes for drug use.

Any student participating in IHSA-sponsored sports is subject to random drug testing. Unlike last year, when it was done in season, testing can now occur at any time of the year.

Under this program, IHSA is able to make sure students are not under the influence of drugs that have the potential to harm the health of student-athletes. According to a U.S. Department of Health study conducted in 2003, 3 percent of juniors and seniors were using anabolic steroids or had used them within that past year.

According to the IHSA, banned substances include stimulants, anabolic agents, diuretics, peptide hormones and any other substance related to these.

Athletic Director Steve Rockrohr believes this program is a positive step in helping guarantee safety among all student-athletes.

“I’m all for drug testing,” Rockrohr said. “I would like to think that none of our kids are taking steroids, but I’m not stupid, and someone certainly could be and I don’t think we should turn a blind eye to that. I’m for anything that helps kids stay healthy.”

If a test does come up positive, that athlete is then subject to dismissal from the team they are currently on or will be playing for that year. Even though this program is connected to the school, an athlete will receive no further punishment from the school.

According to Rockrohr, in all the testing that has been done thus far, there have been very few positives, and all but two of these were cleared by a doctor because of medication that athlete was taking.

According to the IHSA Performance-Enhancing-Substance Testing Policy, “The value of high school interscholastic programs is found in the over-all physical, emotional and intellectual development of student athletes. In that pursuit, anabolic steroids and performance enhancing dietary substances offer no positive contribution.”

Rockrohr also believes that students should work to naturally increase their athletic ability.

“[Students should] stay away from drugs of all kind, whether you are trying to get bigger, stronger or faster,” Rockrohr said. “Do it naturally; it’s much more rewarding and far less dangerous.”