WAAY 31 I-TEAM: Alabama high schools don't test athletes for steroids or SARMs

SARMs are banned for collegiate and Olympic athletes, but high schools don't drug test for it.

Posted: Aug 21, 2019 5:47 PM
Updated: Sep 6, 2019 8:03 PM

A new high school football season is about to kick off, but local schools aren't ready to throw a penalty flag on a performance enhancing drug becoming more popular.

We're talking about Selective Androgen Receptor Modulators, more commonly known as SARMs. They can help athletes, but also cause serious heart problems.

College and Olympic athletes are banned from using them, but the WAAY 31 I-TEAM learned high school students in Alabama are not tested for them, although SARMs are hidden in dozens of products.

"SARMs, if are to be believed, are a way to get performance enhancement or muscle development without using 'steroids,'" said Dr. Marlin Gill. "They are banned in sporting events."

Gill said SARMs are often marketed as 'legal steroids.' In 2017, the Food and Drug Administration warned the performance enhancing drug isn't approved for human usage.

"One of the football players for Clemson got banned for the use of Ostarine, so there are some pretty good studies that show muscle gains and athletic performance," said Gill.

The drug comes in a variety of names from Ostarine to Enobosarm. In total, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency said there are 72 products using SARMs and in many cases, the product isn't listed on the label.

According to the NCAA, drug tests busted 30 college students for using SARMs in 2018. That's nearly double the number from the year before.

Florence City Schools Athletic Director Byron Graham researched the drug and said he's concerned with the growing trend.

"It could be easily fooled to kids," said Graham. "If you get something like SARMs out there hidden in some other supplements, you really wouldn't know if your having that or taking that and if kids are taking that, it could have long term effects on them."

The FDA said SARMs can cause serious health complications such as heart attacks or stroke, but knowing someone is taking SARMs is hard to determine without a drug test.

"It doesn't have some of the side effects with kids acting different, but it does have effects on the liver and other things as well," said Graham.

Graham said the Alabama High School Athletic Association doesn't require schools to test for steroids, never mind advanced drugs such as SARMs. School districts can test for them, but choose not to because each test could cost up to $150. Graham said a lot of his high school students don't even know about SARMs.

"It's not something that's really popular out there right now. If you talk about just old supplements like Creatine and things of that nature, they know about that, but SARMs is just one of those things that's still under the radar," said Graham.

Graham said educating student athletes about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs is something they focus on.

"You want honest athletes and everything they have is their natural given abilities, so you don't want anything that's going to enhance them or have a long-term effect on them at the same time," said Graham.

Graham urges parents to talk with their kids, too. In 2018, Congress attempted to make distributing SARMs without proper labeling a felony. It failed.

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
69° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 51°
Feels Like: 69°
Muscle Shoals
Clear
70° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 47°
Feels Like: 70°
Huntsville/Madison
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 66°
Decatur
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 50°
Feels Like: 66°
Fort Payne
Partly Cloudy
66° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 66°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 518899

Reported Deaths: 10712
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson753641487
Mobile37763798
Madison33859494
Tuscaloosa25266443
Montgomery23962565
Shelby23106238
Baldwin20631300
Lee15524165
Calhoun14284311
Morgan14139268
Etowah13662345
Marshall11957219
Houston10380278
Elmore9993200
Limestone9811147
Cullman9470188
St. Clair9426234
Lauderdale9215227
DeKalb8746181
Talladega8058171
Walker7087275
Jackson6754110
Autauga6723103
Blount6483135
Colbert6203130
Coffee5399112
Dale4767110
Russell428838
Franklin419982
Chilton4083109
Covington4053114
Tallapoosa3893146
Escambia387674
Dallas3527149
Chambers3499122
Clarke346360
Marion3065100
Pike305875
Lawrence295395
Winston272372
Bibb256258
Marengo248661
Geneva245875
Pickens232959
Barbour224755
Hale218775
Butler212266
Fayette208960
Henry187844
Cherokee182044
Randolph176941
Monroe171440
Washington164038
Macon154548
Clay149354
Crenshaw149257
Cleburne146041
Lamar139234
Lowndes136453
Wilcox124327
Bullock121340
Conecuh109028
Perry107926
Sumter102932
Coosa99228
Greene90734
Choctaw58724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 822085

Reported Deaths: 12001
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby914971575
Davidson86563918
Knox48960619
Hamilton42811480
Rutherford41428415
Williamson26942213
Sumner22909338
Montgomery18780223
Out of TN17852101
Wilson17747223
Unassigned16441132
Sullivan15781283
Blount14839194
Bradley14284147
Washington13850240
Sevier12986174
Maury12901166
Putnam11072173
Madison10628240
Robertson9486127
Anderson8539171
Hamblen8409169
Greene7645151
Tipton7171104
Coffee6782121
Dickson6643108
Cumberland6461127
Gibson6355144
Bedford6350126
Carter6332156
McMinn625595
Roane6124101
Jefferson6008121
Loudon595869
Lawrence573186
Hawkins5682105
Monroe564395
Warren549481
Dyer5340104
Franklin504987
Fayette484578
Obion447196
Cocke439598
Cheatham436551
Rhea428075
Lincoln427963
Marshall407358
Campbell405462
Weakley398761
Giles391298
Henderson368375
Carroll355582
Macon354375
White351468
Hardin346166
Hardeman345063
Lauderdale312744
Henry309775
Marion307246
Scott303145
Claiborne302373
Overton294360
Wayne294134
Hickman278345
McNairy275354
DeKalb273953
Smith271737
Haywood267660
Grainger255449
Trousdale247822
Morgan242839
Fentress236346
Johnson226738
Chester208651
Bledsoe208211
Crockett199848
Polk196024
Unicoi191149
Cannon187531
Union184034
Grundy176431
Lake169526
Humphreys168721
Sequatchie165228
Benton160940
Decatur156438
Lewis154826
Meigs132123
Stewart129328
Jackson129235
Clay108331
Houston107333
Perry105628
Moore99217
Van Buren82621
Pickett75524
Hancock53612

Community Events