Final Draft

Supporting Supplements In The NCAA

Athletes in the NCAA should be given the opportunity to make themselves better at their sport however they want, even if it is consuming supplements to improve themselves physically in a safe way. Over the past few years the Board of the NCAA made a ruling that banned almost every supplement that athletes can take to improve their game. Pre-work out, during work-out and post work-out supplement methods have mostly been taken away from players because it gives athletes the upper hand physically compared to the athletes who choose not to use enhancement supplements. Most athletes would be against the NCAA because most of these supplements like post work-out protein and pre work-out amino acids and even some Creatine will only take the soreness out of your body and enables your muscles to grow at a faster rate. All three of these "drugs" are banned by the NCAA, and the reasons for doing so seem to be very broad and most athletes aren’t given reasoning why these supplements are deemed illegal for consumption.

When addressing the main issues of substance abuse the Board of the NCAA and professional doctors agree that athletes health, mood, performance, safety of others and future health are the areas mostly effected by abusing substances. If an athlete takes the wrong substance there can be negative side effects and sometimes even death. “L-tryptophan, for example, an amino acid used by strength-trained athletes, was associated with eosinophilia myalgia syndrome, which caused 38 deaths” (Supplement Use by Female Athletes). L-tryptophan is considered a bad amino and is a big reason why the NCAA is so strict, 100% amino acids on the other hand can be very healthy and beneficial. The reasoning behind the NCAA being so strict is understandable if the supplements are abused and over used, but if taken care of properly in the method of educating student athletes correctly most of these issues can be taken care of. “Uneducated athletes need to gain a better understanding of the safety, eligibility, and efficacy concerns associated with choosing to take dietary supplements. The athletic trainer is a valuable athletic team member who can help in the educational process” (National Athletic Trainers). Being educated along with the help of athletic trainers will make the process of taking supplements and what to consume can be a big help to student athletes when trying to get better and staying healthy at the same time. Student athletes should also be educated on how the NCAA tests and what they are looking for. Training facility’s typically have a list of banned supplements, this is a good way to educate athletes. Having a list of substances in the training room is nice but along with that the trainers will also supply a good amount of information if asked by an athlete. The NCAA testing for supplements and drugs comes in the form of a urine sample and can test for anything, caffeine is even a banned substance and can show up on a urine sample if you have caffeine prior to the test. This is a perfect example of why the NCAA is too strict, if you have a soda pop before testing it might get flagged as illegal because of a caffeine spike. Another thing that can get flagged during a urine test is if you are too hydrated because your urine will be too diluted therefore being too hard to read for banned substances. If this was to occur you would have to sit in the office and wait till you are dehydrated or have color in your urine. This information can be given to a student athlete by their athletic trainer, so the issues above with faulty urine tests can be avoided.

Having background information on the supplements most common to the NCAA helps with the understanding of why athletes consume them. The most common supplements range from Pre-work Out, during work-out all the way to post workout. Pre-workout that is considered harmful and is usually banned by the Board of the NCAA can be anything with Creatine monohydrate in it. But this drug can be argued to be completely safe and actually very beneficial to one’s health. “Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not only safe, but possibly beneficial in regard to preventing injury and/or management of select medical conditions when taken within recommended guidelines” (Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition). If athletes want to take a supplement that will help them both physically and also help their health, why take that away from student athletes? Along with Creatine as a per-workout there is also Amino acids that are very common and beneficial to athletes. They all work the same way by using Bate-Alanine (substitute for caffeine) to enter the users blood cells and cause an energy rush, allowing the Athlete to lift more weight and lift for a long period of time. These two supplements can also be used during the workout allowing your body to retain high energy for working out. After the workout when your muscles are aching, protein is just what is needed to take the lactic acid out of your muscles and help build muscle mass. Protein can be taken in the morning to start the activation of your muscles, once again after you work out to feed the lactic acid so you’re not sore and then end the night with protein to build muscle mass while your body is fasting. These supplements aren’t going to harm a athlete that is well educated and knows when to consume these enhancing drugs.

Trying to improve yourself as an athlete in a safe way should not be taken out of the hands of athletes, there are too many restrictions. Hard drugs and street drugs have an obvious reason for being taken away from athletes, because they are used solely for the purpose to feel a rush of being high. There is a safe way to use supplements to improve your game and a not so safe way, moderation and the right kind of supplements is key to making yourself better and keeping your body healthy. ”Health professionals working with athletes must determine which supplements are used, and the prevalence of use and dosage, to develop appropriate intervention strategies to counteract misinformation” (Supplement Use by Female Athletes). A lot of the time intervention methods are simply finding a new healthy replacement. For example, 100% Whey Protein and 100% Amino acids are a very safe and effective way to gain size, speed and endurance and still stay healthy.” Twelve percent reported amino acid/protein supplement use and 17% used an herbal/botanical supplement. The most frequently cited reason for supplement use was “good health”” (Supplement Use by Female Athletes). There are many different supplements that are banned by the Board of the NCAA that could arguably be heathier when consuming them in a safe dosage. Besides having the upper hand in competition, the NCAA also banns some of the supplements for health reasons. There can be so much done to prevent these issues of health and dominance because of supplements and still let the athletes take the safe and healthy road without being threatened by the NCAA to lose their spot on the team.

In a nut shell the NCAA is far too strict and won’t allow athletes to reach their full potential. The health concerns along with the risks of future aliments because of supplements is a very understandable reason for the NCAA to be strict. But when it comes down to it, instead of banning it completely there should be an understanding that athletes want to become stronger and better at the sport they play, and only ban what can cause extreme harm. Rather than being addicted to street drugs and alcohol, wouldn’t it be better if athletes were addicted to making themselves better at the sport they are competing in? If educated and understanding about what and what not to consume, athletes shouldn’t be so restricted to what supplements they can put in their body to improve themselves physically in a safe way.

Work Cited

Herbold, Nancie H. "Traditional and Nontraditional Supplement Use By Collegiate Female Varsity Athletes." Traditional and Nontraditional Supplement Use By Collegiate Female Varsity Athletes (2004): n. pag. Human Kinetics, 2004. Web. 18 Feb. 2015. <http://www.humankinetics.com/acucustom/sitename/Documents/DocumentItem/4298.pdf>

Buell, Jackie L., Rob Franks, Jack Ransone, Michael E. Powers, Kathleen M. Laquale, and Amanda Carlson-Phillips. "National Athletic Trainers' Association Position Statement: Evaluation of Dietary Supplements for Performance Nutrition." Journal of Athletic Training. The National Athletic Trainers' Association, Inc., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2015.
<http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3554028/>

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. Woodland Park, CO: Biomed Central, 2007. International Society of Sports Nutrition Position Stand: Creatine Supplementation and Exercise. 30 Aug. 2007. Web. 18 Feb. 2015.
<http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1550-2783-4-6.pdf>

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