ViewPoint: Steroid testing time has come

July 23, 2007

As we approach another school year, we should have a serious discussion about how many high school atheletes are using steroids.

A few states like Texas public high school athletes could soon face mandatory random steroid testing. The Legislature gave final approval, and it was sent to the Governor for signing. The state could begin testing tens of thousands of students at the start of the coming football season.

They say this has a simple goal..."It will help secure healthy and safe lives for our young people,"  "Coaches, parents and fans are going to appreciate it."

Athletes who test positive, or refuse to be tested, could be suspended from play. Athletes in all sports, from football to wrestling to tennis, could be tested.

We have heard NFL and college football players say it is a huge problem.  That the pressure to be faster and stronger has driven steroid use into our high schools. We find it troubling that almost everyone we spoke to about this has their head in the sand and doesn't want to hear that we have this problem here in South Georgia.  

The current system of don't ask, don't tell is just in denial. A few that would speak to us, confirm that it is happening here, but the current system is set up to win games, and not question the tell-tale signs of steroids use. How can we actually care more about an athletes grades than we do their health???

If the state of Georgia is not going to take the lead, we should show by our example locally, that we take this issue seriously. Ask your schools and school boards to begin at least random tests for steroids.