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May   4

Putting High School Athletes To The Test

Today's Star Ledger reports that New Jersey high school athletes may be subjected to random testing for a "wide range of performance enhancing substances, from amphetimines to steroids".  We first reported in December that high school drug testing might be in the works, and now the executive committee of the state's Interscholastic Athletic Association has unanimously approved the testing plan. If passed next month, New Jersey would be the first state in the nation to enact drug testing in high schools. Sixty per cent of the tests would target football, wrestling, swimming, lacrosse, baseball, and track & field.

The NJ ACLU director Deborah Jacobs stated that the plan "undermines parental decision making and the privacy rights of families...we consider this ill-informed public policy." Former Governor Codey, who first introduced the testing plan, applauded yesterday's vote.

"Our mission is to become the first government in the world to test high school athletes for steroids," he said. "It's clearly the right thing to do. We have to send a message: One, you're cheating. And two, you're harming your health in the future. It's almost gotten to the point where it's accepted by teenagers that they should do this if they want to succeed athletically."

Montclair resident Stephen McCarthy has a daughter playing varsity Lacrosse and Field Hockey at Montclair High.  He told Baristanet: "I can understand drug testing for airline pilots, bus drivers, police officers, but I think we should stop and think about how far we should let the government intrude in our lives, particularly in the lives of our children."  Baristanet has a call in to the athletic directors at the three Baristaville high schools.

Parents, athletes, Baristareaders, tell us what you think..

May 4, 2006 in Controversy | Permalink


What a truly sad state of affairs...

Sadly I am sure it is necessary. As long as it is voluntary I don't see a privacy issue.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 4, 2006 3:49:55 PM

I think it would be wise if everyone involved (athletes, parents, coaches, school administrators, law makers and enforcers) agreed to the same list of substances that should be banned. Common sense would say that certain steroids are too aggressive in their enhancement capacity with negative drawbacks. But other substances may be acceptable, such as vitamin supplements and a strength-enhancing diet plan. Lets make sure everyone is on the same page, and then ensure that the test used is reliable in finding those agreed-upon substances.

Posted by: Jim | May 4, 2006 3:55:28 PM

"Students or their parents must agree to the policy in writing at the start of a season or they will not be permitted to compete"

is that consideed voluntary ?(unconstrained by interference)

Posted by: pissant | May 4, 2006 3:59:31 PM

Yes. Participation in atheletics is not required. When I was a lad, we were required to get a doctor's physical.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 4, 2006 4:03:07 PM

p.s. I assume this is for sports teams only and not regular Gym class.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 4, 2006 4:06:20 PM

"Sixty per cent of the tests would target football, wrestling, swimming, lacrosse, baseball, and track & field."

what else is there?

field hockey

Posted by: pissant | May 4, 2006 4:16:13 PM

I guess Mr. McCarthy hasn't experienced watching his daughter get trampled by an opponent that previously seemed "normal sized", but now appears to be the covergirl for Weightlifter's Weekly. The stakes have been raised for some time now, and this is a welcome step in the right direction for HS athletics. Most kids want nothing to do with this poison, but there will always be cheaters. Hopefully, this will make a player think twice before taking something that will ultimately cause them more harm than good.

Posted by: Lee Blair | May 4, 2006 4:57:26 PM

Pissant, if only skateboarding was considered a "sport" and accorded the same "respect" (and public funding) as traditional football, baseball, etc. !! To skateboard well one must be in excellent physical condition, have stamina, flexibility, and creativity... and be able to overcome the dirty looks and sterotypical prejudice!

Posted by: g | May 4, 2006 5:14:55 PM

"To skateboard well one must be in excellent physical condition, have stamina, flexibility, and creativity... and be able to overcome the dirty looks and sterotypical prejudice!"

The same is true when you are a professional car thief, also.

Posted by: Bill the Cat | May 4, 2006 5:32:19 PM


And when you're an acrobat or a snowboarder. Too bad we don't have a skateboard or snowboard park in Essex County!

Posted by: Pat Gilleran | May 4, 2006 5:43:11 PM

Pat: Bloomfield is supposedly working on a skateboard park.

Bill: To equate a skateboarder with a car thief is ridiculous!!

If my child had to pee in a cup...I'd approve it, reluctantly.

Posted by: Surrounded | May 4, 2006 5:54:18 PM

All anyone has to do is spend some time in a local gym where high school athletes train during the offseason to suspect how many are on the juice and how easy it is for them to acquire steroids. I mean, 6'5 juniors weighing in at 270, it isn't all mom's lasagna. And all of a sudden there are young women playing field hockey who are built like linebackers.

But it's not the government "intruding" in the lives of children, exactly, is it? It's kids trying to grow up way too fast and maybe bigger than Ma Nature intended through chemicals, and them (and perhaps their parents, those college scholarships can save a lot of money) not caring a whole lot about a level playing field. We live in a society where people seek an "edge," whether it's over something as prosaic as concert tickets or one's time in the 60.

As for the ACLU's opposition, there's no surprise there. When is there ever any surprise in the ACLU's position on anything?

Posted by: cathar | May 4, 2006 6:00:56 PM

and when is there any surprise in your position either?

i think this is awful.

a child should be able to compete in sports without having to take a drug test.

should all car drivers submit to breathalizers because some drink and drive? no. don't penalize the majority for crimes of the minority.

investigate. find probable cause, then make THOSE kids take tests. not all of them.

Posted by: Left Of Center, like Suzanne Vega | May 4, 2006 6:08:42 PM

Cathar: Not fer nuthin' but - as we say here in Jersey - I wonder what gyms you're hanging out at from which you've observed 'juice use'. I KNOW it happens occasionally but, as far as I know, it is NOT the norm.

Posted by: Surrounded | May 4, 2006 6:12:09 PM

LOC, coaches aren't usually dumb in my opinion. But they have a wee tendency to sometimes look the other way if it helps the win column. But we're also not talking about "children." are we? Why is a drug test an intrusion against privacy? The sad thing is that we live in an environment where drug testing of "kids" is necessary for rather obvious reasons. Would you really be so opposed to such a policy for your own offspring, if, say, the "child" suddenly exhibited mood swings, rapid expansion of obvious msucle mass, etc.?

Surrounded, oh grow up, as Joan Rivers used to say. Just follow the cereal box neck types to their lairs. This is even why there's a "drug free" body building circuit. Whether or not this sort of thing is the
norm," it's going on. Just leaf sometime through one of those college scouting publications that outline top prospects (the sports they cover have expanded the last 10 years) and note the measurements of some of these, uh, kids from year to year, and also sometimes how they seem concentrated in certain high schools. Again, this is often more than a case of Mom's home cooking or a great off-season training program. As a former college jock who remains a relatively interested alum, I assure you, this stuff is much talked and worried about.

Posted by: cathar | May 4, 2006 6:34:40 PM

I played varsity field hockey freshman through sophomore year...the only juice I saw the girls using was Red Bull. That stuff is POISON.

Posted by: jennnnn | May 4, 2006 8:55:53 PM

Well then Mr. C...if you're a "former college jock who remains a relatively interested alum" then I digress. And my digression continues further after I discussed this subject with my BHS '04 grad...who tells me there are scads of kids he knows who drink (or have drank) the juice. :(

And before you even go there...my kid isn't one of them - I know that for a fact!

Posted by: Surrounded | May 4, 2006 9:47:14 PM

But you sneered at the very possibility, surrounded. Now your own progeny dares contradict you. Your son aside, perhaps you now cast a more approving eye at the issue of drug testing athletes in h.s.

You also misued the words "digress" and "digression."

Posted by: cathar | May 4, 2006 10:01:56 PM

glen ridge skatepark opens on saturday in carteret park. not sure of the time, but helmets are mandatory. not sure about pads.

BILL THE CAT, your comment is a reflection of your stupidity.

Posted by: julia | May 4, 2006 10:12:38 PM

When are you going to hang a shingle so we can come in and get our heads examined? It's not often we get the opportunity to be around one as 'brilliant' as you.
Now, make sure you clean your litter box so u don't make a mess

Posted by: Iceman | May 4, 2006 10:16:23 PM

cathar the grammarian: (my name is capitalized, thank you!) I did not sneer. I based what I stated on my immediate knowledge (and what, I suppose, I refused to believe - based on your's). Then I acquiesced.

This is troubling to me because some boys (no girls) that I'm told of, I've known since they were Kindergarteners and I wonder how much their own parents know.

Posted by: Surrounded | May 4, 2006 10:18:22 PM

P.S. I'd already stated that I'd approve, reluctantly...(because I know my kids) my child peeing in a cup!

Posted by: Surrounded | May 4, 2006 10:25:46 PM


Thanks. I looked it up and elbow and knee pads are mandatory.

Glen ridge skatepark - word doc

This program will be supervised by a qualified supervisor.
When is it?
After school 3:30 PM-6:30 PM
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 AM-4:00 PM
Open April 30 - June 18 and August 20 – October 1
Where is it?
Carteret Park Rink
Carteret Street, Glen Ridge, NJ
How much does it cost?
This program is FREE for all Glen Ridge residents!

Posted by: Pat Gilleran | May 4, 2006 11:58:04 PM

As this may be a first, I'm surprised that cathar and I agree: this is not a little thing, and we would be wise to keep this dialogue going, given the state of denial many of you are in. Our youth are looking to us for guidance and we should not put our heads in the sand and declare this is a non-issue. HS kids know the stakes are high, and they are seeking an edge that supplements, (Both legal and illegal) may give them. I think we all tend to look back on our days as athletes, (or not!) and see those times through rose colored glasses. The simple fact is that this problem is at our doorstep, and we have a chance to support a measure that could assist our children. We must support it, and by doing that, show our youth that we care about them, not just the glory of winning.

Posted by: Lee Blair | May 5, 2006 12:02:39 AM

The issue is simple. Participation in athletics is not mandatory. The students don't have a right to be on the teams. The school can put conditions on that participation that are evenly applied. They can require physicals, protective gear, appropriate behavior, seat belts on buses, etc.

Posted by: Right of Center™ | May 5, 2006 7:48:32 AM

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