If you’re not an athlete, you might not know that Caffeine is a supplement used to enhance athletic performance. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and can increase alertness and levels of energy. There are millions of Americans, for example, who take this stimulant each morning before work by having their regular dose of coffee.
An extreme form of a stimulant is cocaine. It’s a powerful drug that causes euphoria, elation, and a feeling that is hard to beat with any other drug. In fact, cocaine is one of the most addictive drugs out there because of the unequaled high that it produces.
The intoxication of ingesting cocaine includes feeling very alert, excited, powerful, and happy. Some users of cocaine describe its euphoria as equivalent to orgasm. However, the euphoria of being high on cocaine can also bring feelings of suspicion and paranoia. In fact, after a while the high might produce anxious feelings, compulsive and repetitive behaviors, and seeing flashes of light or hallucinations.
Of course, teen athletes don’t have to resort to cocaine in order to get the kind of performance they want. There are many options available to athletic adolescents who want to increase their performance, run faster, be stronger, look slimmer, and in general be more energized. In fact, it’s not only that teens want to experience this in their sports but also they’re feeling the pressures to succeed in their sport from the media, the Internet, friends, competitors, coaches, and parents.
Among many various supplements, some say that caffeine helps burn fat, protect carbohydrate stores, and make you feel energized. Interestingly, the National Collegiate Athletic Association has banned caffeine if too high an amount is found in an athlete’s urine sample.
However, this ruling didn’t save the life of Logan Stiner, a healthy 18-year old wrestler from LaGrange, Ohio. He died in June of this year from an overdose of powdered caffeine. He was a senior in high school and a state-qualified wrestler. Stiner consumed a teaspoon of the powder before his death and tests reveal that he had a lethal amount in his system. Examiners believe that the young 18-year old was not aware that he had consumed a toxic amount.
Other supplements that are supposed to improve performance are Beta-Alanine, Branched-Chain Amino Acids, Carnitine, Chromium Picolinate, Creatine, Medium-Chain Triglycerides (MCT), and Pyruvate. Despite the danger of these supplements being a gateway to other drugs that might come with the temptation of improving performance, they are at least legal teen athletes to take. The illegal option is the use of steroids, which is a felony when taken without a prescription.
Yet, whether these supplements are legal or not, clearly they can take a teen’s life. The caffeine powder can be purchased online and it is not regulated in any way. In fact, one of the medical examiners in the case of Logan Stiner believes that caffeine overdoses likely happen frequently but that many physicians wouldn’t think to test for caffeine levels as a cause of death. “I wouldn’t have done it,” he said, “but we found a bag and there was no other reason for his death.”
Because of the danger of drug addiction among teen athletes, more and more addiction treatment centers are tending to the unique needs of athletes. They recognize that the pressure to perform well can so easily lead an adolescent to reach for drugs as tools to help them succeed.
Palmer, K. (July 2, 2014). Ohio Teenage Wrestler Died From Caffeine Overdose. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved on September 5, 2014 from: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2014-07-02/news/sns-rt-us-usa-ohio-caffeine-20140702_1_caffeine-equivalent-school-wrestler-powder
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