Another week, another story about the use of performance enhancing substances ranging from steroids to supplements and everything in between. The statistics are frightening. Here’s just a sample:
* In a survey conducted at 18 of South Africa’s top schools, 21 out of 130 pupils (approximately 1 in 6) tested positive for a variety of illegal steroids. (Sunday Times, 29th May 2011)
* 8,4% of grade12s among the 7500 pupils surveyed had taken steroids sometime during their school careers. The average for grades 6 – 12 was 4.7%, with steroid usage increasing with age. (Discovery Sharksmart Pupil Wellbeing Survey 2010)
In the study, “Attitudes and perceptions towards performance enhancing
substance use in Johannesburg boys high
school sport” by Philippe Gradidge, Yoga Coopoo and Demitri Constantinou of the Centre for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, published in the South African Journal of Sport Medicine (Vol 22, No 2. 2010) the following results were found amongst others:
* 30% of participants (grades 10 – 12) indicated using performance enhancing substances for enhancement
* 91% of participants (grade 10 – 12) do not believe that prohibited substances should be banned
* 91% of participants (grade 10 – 12) believe the use of these substances in sport is on the increase
* 85% of American young people have never had a parent, coach or teacher talk with them about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs. (Proctor and Gamble survey, 2008)
* 1 in 16 USA high school students admit using anabolic steroids. Up from 1 in 45 in 1993. (Taylor Hooton Foundation)
For parents, information and education is not always easily accessible and if you can find it, very often it is written in language that we do not understand. We have provided you with an easy to read Understanding the groups of doping substances available document, adapted from the information provided by the South African Institute of Drug Free Sport.
It is a complex matter, but hope this will give you a better understanding of what some of these substances are all about and their possible effects on your children so that it will enable you to speak knowledgeable, frankly and openly to your children about the subject. Quick fixes are not the answer to enduring success. Promote hard work, resilience, sportsmanship and fair competition to avoid your child’s life and reputation being put at risk.