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Chapter Objectives

Chapter Objectives

After reading this chapter, the student should have an understanding of the following:

  1. How to recognize the outward signs of drug abuse in athletes.

  2. How to respond to an athlete whom they suspect might be abusing drugs.

  3. The classes of drugs that are banned by the NCAA and the International Olympic Committee.

  4. How the NCAA drug-testing program works.

  5. Where to get information regarding starting a drug testing program at an institution.

  6. Future implications for high school athletes.

Recognition of Drug Abuse

The recognition of drug use is a small part of the athletic trainer's duties, but it can be a major factor in caring for athletes, students, and people in general. Sometimes athletic trainers can inadvertently overlook an athlete's drug or substance abuse problem when they are dealing with other more visible problems that the athlete may be encountering in his or her sports participation. It is much easier for the athletic trainer to care for a sprain, strain, abrasion, or other outward sign of injury than to deal with a problem the athlete is hiding or will not admit exists. The athletic trainer needs to be keenly aware of some of the subtle signs of substance abuse that an athlete might exhibit when he or she is in the athletic training facility or in the company of the athletic training staff members.

Most drug abuse by athletes is for ergogenic purposes. Another athlete or friend may convince an athlete that he or she needs to use some type of a supplement to get bigger, stronger, or faster. Also, some athletes believe that using an ergogenic aid will give them a greater chance at a college scholarship or a professional contract. The NCAA has been surveying collegiate athletes for many years regarding ergogenic drug use.

The 2001 NCAA survey was a continuing effort to determine patterns of drug use among collegiate athletes. A similar survey had been sent to member institutions four times previously since the original results were published in 1989. The survey was sent to a variety of different Division I, II, and III institutions and specified which athletic teams were to be surveyed. For the 2001 survey there were a total of 21,225 surveys completed from 713 member institutions.

As can be seen by reviewing Figure 15–1, the use of anabolic steroids among collegiate athletes has dropped a great deal since 1989, when the athletes were first surveyed. Conversely, the use of amphetamines and ephedrine has greatly increased since the first survey. This indicates that athletes are not as concerned about their size as they are about their energy level. It may be that collegiate athletes are being asked to do too much between their academic requirements and their athletic desires in college.

Figure 15–1.

Patterns of ergogenic drug use by collegiate student-athletes. ...

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