|I am not sure that steroids are the problem here.|
Building off our posts about Don Ramos and the waste of time and resources it is to test masters, how is it working to test high school students? In the article below, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association claims a victory in that they only had one positive test. They tested 510 athletes from 105 schools. That is about 5 per school and I am not sure how many schools are in the state, but I am it is many more than 105. We have more than that in Arizona and we are not nearly as populous. My feeling is, either do it right, or don't do it at all. I really don't see random testing of such a low percentage of students as being an effective deterrent. I also do not believe that steroids are really a rampant problem in American high schools. I would prefer they put the effort and resources into alcohol and marijuana education and prevention. I can tell you that after 30 years in the public school system, I have seen much more damage, tragedy, and lost potential from those substances. I also have never really seen anyone that I suspected of steroid abuse. Of course my location my give me a skewed perspective, but I really don't think that steroids are that big of an issue in our high schools. Alcohol and marijuana definitely are. But as usual, politicians and administrators look for the spectacular highly visible solutions to contrived problems. What ever gets the most attention from the press. Steroids has become great cause for many who have not clue what they are talking about. I am against healthy young people using steroids. But let's be realistic and not waste or misspend resources on a non-issue. You don't need a chainsaw to slice a watermelon.
Eight years ago, New Jersey became the first state in the country to institute a statewide steroid-testing policy for high school athletes, responding forcefully to national statistics showing increasing steroids use by high schoolers.
And last year’s results are in. During the 2012-13 school year, the state’s governing body for high school athletics tested 510 athletes from 105 schools and 11 sports. Only one athlete tested positive.
New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association Executive Director Steve Timko said he was encouraged by the results, but added that he wished the organization could afford to expand the testing to include even more athletes.
“A victory is having absolutely nobody test positive,” Timko said. “But the message is the most important thing.”
The NJSIAA randomly tests athletes from 13 sports, and only tests athletes from teams that qualify for the playoffs. Athletes are required to sign a consent form before each sports season allowing the possibility of a random test.
The sports subjected to testing are football, wrestling, baseball, softball, ice hockey, swimming, gymnastics, indoor and outdoor track and boys and girls basketball and lacrosse, Timko said. (The NJSIAA did not test athletes from gymnastics and girls soccer this school year due to logistical problems associated with Hurricane Sandy, Timko said.)
Out of 270,123 athletes last school year, the NJSIAA tested 510.
“I wish we could do more,” Timko said. “We need to keep doing this. I think it’s extremely important. We’re constantly trying to get the message out.”
The NJSIAA could not provide a year-by-year breakdown of number of positive tests, but Timko said the range has been between none and about four.
The NJSIAA and the state each pays $50,000 for the testing. Timko said he’s unsuccessfully solicited donations to increase funding for the testing.
Despite consistent issues across many sports regarding performance-enhancing drug use, Timko said only Illinois, Florida and Texas have instituted steroids testing for high schoolers at one point or another.
“Any kid that we can keep off it, it’s worth every penny that we’ve spent,” Timko said. “The testing is important. I’m glad we’re still doing the testing. We keep plugging away at getting the message out there.”