Are youth athletes using steroids or not? An article in today's Chicago Tribune reports conflicting information from those involved in finding out.
Through three years of random testing for steroids in the high schools the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) had just two positive results in 1,478 tests, according to the Tribune. At the same time a national survey from the University of Michigan, counting both athletes and non-athletes, claims that "steroid use among teens rose in 2010." From the Tribune:
The [University of Michigan] survey of approximately 50,000 eighth-, 10th- and 12th-graders showed 4 percent of male high school seniors said they used steroids in 2010 — up from 3.4 percent in 2009 and the highest number since 2004.
Chicago Bear Hall-of-Famer Dick Butkus has an organization called Play Clean which encourages young athletes to avoid doping and, well, play clean. After pointing out that the U of Michigan "survey relies on self-reporting,” Dick Butkus has said he believes the use rates actually are higher. According to Ron Arp, president of the Butkus Foundation,
"Most tests are through urine and not blood, so you don't know how thorough they are. The major pro leagues and even the world doping agencies are constantly trying to find tests for things being used. We are chasing things that are designed by their very nature to be elusive."
Still, Arp says,
"I do think it is fantastic that some states are testing. It is a natural deterrent for people on the bubble if they know their career or eligibility could come crashing down."