State steroid testing has local coaches' support

  1. Post State steroid testing has local coaches' support

    State steroid testing has local coaches' support
    Staff Writer for the Brick Township Bulletin

    Coaches at the two Brick high schools expressed a ready acceptance when New Jersey became the first state last Wednesday to institute a statewide steroid-testing policy for high school athletes.

    After all, the Brick district already has a random substance abuse policy that has been in place for three years, one of the few districts in the state to have that as a standard policy. That substance abuse policy covers alcohol and drugs, but not the expensive steroid testing that became more of an issue after the findings of a major league baseball investigation.

    The Bulletin and other Greater Media newspapers ran a special section last fall addressing steroid abuse among high school athletes.

    The costly testing, which is being funded with the help of corporate sponsors, begins this fall for male and female athletes who qualify for a team or individual state championships. Athletes who test positive for any of more than 80 banned substances, which includes anabolic steroids, diuretics and other performance-enhancing drugs, face a one-year loss of eligibility. Other states are considering following suit of the decision made by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association at its monthly meeting after the organization paved the way for the move by giving preliminary approval at its previous meeting.

    "It's a great idea; maybe it needs to be done," said Bill Bruno, athletic director for both high schools who sat in on committees with acting Gov. Richard Codey in meetings late last year. Codey has been an ardent supporter of steroid testing of high school athletes.

    "Is it as prevalent here as in other states? No," said Bruno. "Is it prevalent in this community? No. Am I foolish to think that it does not go on? No."

    But Bruno called it an "evolving thing. I have questions and concerns but it is a step in the right direction," said Bruno, who also serves as head of the Shore Conference.

    Along with Bruno, coaches of playoff teams surveyed at Brick do not suspect steroid abuse to be at a significant level, although it is a concern that some athletes around that state may be using supplements for athletic advantage, particularly in sports involving strength and endurance.

    "No," said Brick Memorial coach Fred Sprengel when asked about steroid abuse concerns for his team. "Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think there are too many kids using steroids in high school. If there are, they're not playing on our team. You certainly can tell if there are, and you can see it in the weight room. It is an excuse for people who don't want to work hard by accusing others of using steroids."

    Bill Brunner, who coaches throwers in the field events for the Brick Township boys track & field team, and is the girls track & field coach at the school, has said that radical weight and muscle gain and skin acne are telltale signs of potential steroid abuse, although he has said he sees no indications it exists in his program.

    "Brick Township always has had a drug policy of testing our athletes throughout the season," said Brick Township football coach Warren Wolf, the state's winningest coach. "I support and always have supported any drug testing, and so have the [other] coaches. It's too bad it's not done for everybody in the school."

    Sprengel agrees with that idea.

    "If it's a rule, it's a rule that should be for all students and not just for athletes and teams that make playoffs," said Sprengel. "I just don't know how the state [NJSIAA] can do it at a larger basis with the expense of it."

    Bruno and Ron Gerlufsen, who helps coordinate athletics at Brick Memorial and serves as the boys basketball and boys tennis coach, which both have qualified for tournaments, say the ruling is more of a deterrent to discourage abuse.

    "But you do get a couple of knuckleheads who try to sneak by," said Bruno.

    "It's not a serious problem in Brick Township. I know of instances of boys on a few rare occasions," said Wolf, who reportedly lost one player in the 2004 season to substance abuse. "It certainly startles the coach and the team. It's an embarrassment and the boys have to know what they're taking. If it's something they're taking and they're not sure, they better check with their parents and the director of athletics."

    Along with football, which has at least three times the number of athletes of any other team sport, wrestling, which is one of the most physically demanding sports, and track and field competition generally draws the greatest suspicion as a potential for steroid abuse violations.

    "I think it is good as long as it is done fairly and is subjective," said coach Dean Albanese of perennial wrestling power Brick Memorial, which usually sends at least two wrestlers to the state championships. "Are my kids involved (with steroids)? No. Kids are a little more educated now."

    Gerlufsen said "no, we haven't" lost any boys basketball or boys tennis players to the district's random substance abuse testing, "but it is positive as far as a deterrent."

    "Our school district has been at the forefront of this, so as far as putting something like this in place, it's only positive as far as substance abuse is concerned," said Gerlufsen.

    He said there is no evidence of steroid abuse with his players but that the threat does exist in the schools.

    "Not that I'm aware of but I have heard that it does exist in other sports," said Gerlufsen.

    As for the girls athletes, Brick Memorial girls soccer coach Bill Caruso, whose team won three straight state titles before the string was snapped last season in the Group IV semifinals, gives the idea his support.

    "I think it's a great idea," said Caruso. "I'm not worried because I don't think my kids are using it. It's not common in women's sports until you get to the Olympic level, although I know there are exceptions to every rule and it will be interesting to see how that goes."

    Caruso said he has not had the chance to talk to his players about it yet, but will in the days ahead as they started play on Monday in the summer league at GoodSports in Wall. He said the fact that the school has had a substance abuse policy in place makes this idea more understandable for his players.

    "All of our kids know they can be called to the nurse's office for a test at any time. This is just another thing they can be tested for," said Caruso.

    Called Executive Order 72, it calls for every student/athlete and a parent to sign a release form allowing steroid testing. The only exception, it says, is "a written prescription by a fully licensed physician as recognized by the American Medical Association to treat a medical condition."

    An attached form given to each student-athlete fully identifies all of the banned substances by medical name with a warning in the preface:

    "Many nutritional supplements contain NJSIAA banned substances. In addition, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate the supplement industry; therefore purity and safety of nutritional dietary supplements cannot be guaranteed. Impure supplements may lead to a positive NJSIAA drug test. The use of supplements is at the student-athlete's own risk."

    NJSIAA Executive Director Steve Timko called it a "tremendous initiative for New Jersey. What better way to show we're concerned about the health, safety and welfare of our student-athletes?"

    Codey thanked the NJSIAA for taking the lead on what could be a national trend.

    "This is something I believe in, something I pushed for and something I stand firmly behind."

    Certainly, the months ahead will be an interesting indicator whether New Jersey sets a successful precedent that other states may feel obligated to follow.

  2. There goes any chance of setting any new records

  3. o **** when did this go into effect brb

    **flushes sd down toilet** (naw no sd here would expire before I felt safe aha)

    lol about damn time. I dont think I have too much to worry about seeing how I had to quite football after 3 seasons due to knee injury and the likely hood of them testing for tennis is not a concern... but either way I feel this is a great inniative and should start spreading to other states.

  4. Quote Originally Posted by OCCFan023
    o **** when did this go into effect brb

    **flushes superdrol down toilet** (naw no superdrol here would expire before I felt safe aha)

    lol about damn time. I dont think I have too much to worry about seeing how I had to quite football after 3 seasons due to knee injury and the likely hood of them testing for tennis is not a concern... but either way I feel this is a great inniative and should start spreading to other states.
    I hope you are not taking any anabolics at 17.

  5. Of course he is not, that would be foolish for his health and a violation of the board rules.

  6. no way man, only supplement Ive ever taken for stength and such is CVM Xtreme and whey. PLanning some trials with XFactor or something but not anabolics, not for a very very long time


Similar Forum Threads

  1. Steroid Testing
    By Wolfe08 in forum Anabolics
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 03-02-2005, 11:38 PM
  2. MLB to institute steroid testing
    By scotty2 in forum Anabolics
    Replies: 8
    Last Post: 11-20-2003, 10:30 AM
  3. steroid testing, urgent!
    By bigitalynjc in forum Anabolics
    Replies: 5
    Last Post: 08-15-2003, 05:36 AM
  4. steroid testing, urgent!
    By bigitalynjc in forum General Chat
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 08-07-2003, 06:11 PM
Log in
Log in