Performance enhancing drugs must be banned across the table

A big subject going around the country these days are the use of performance enhancement drugs.
   The major sports leagues and the Olympics have taken serious blows with this in past years, while intercollegiate and high school athletics have begun to show increases in numbers with the drugs.
   Athletes feel urged to excel in competition and training is the only way to climb the ladder. However, these types of drugs can boost their efforts and give them short cuts.
   It can also risk health and ruin athletic careers as individuals seek to build mass and strength of muscles and bone, increase oxygen to tissues and lose weight among other things.
   Recent studies have shown that steroid and performance enhancement usage with high school athletes has risen almost sixty percent within the past ten years.
   Student athletes can purchase almost anything over the counter such as ephedrine, creatine and androstenedione. While a limited use of certain products are okay health wise, too much is definitely enough in some cases.
   It hurts me to hear of cases across the country where top high school athletes lose their lives early or hurt their teams by using these performance drugs.
   Some cases begin at younger ages, as several junior high/middle school athletes experiment with the materials.
   There are some counties in the state of Tennessee who require their high school students to test for drugs of any kind, including the performance enhancing.
   There are some counties who do not.
   Many sports programs have drug screenings, but with the advancements being made each year, it's almost impossible to stop everything.
   Next week, I will speak with several coaches within this county and get their opinion on mandatory drug testing with student athletes and performance enhancement drugs in general.
   David Reece, Elizabethton - topped Johnson County's Adam Cornett 6-4, 6-0 in Thursday tennis action at Elizabethton.
   Rusty Chambers, Unaka - hit three of four with three RBI's against South Greene on Wednesday afternoon.
   Mark Byrd, Cloudland - struck out twelve batters and walked one on the mound in a conference win over North Greene on Thursday.
   Julie Roberson, Unaka - went two of four with a home run, a triple and four RBI's in the Lady Rangers' victory over Cloudland on Tuesday.
   Terra Whaley, Happy Valley - singled and delivered a two-run homer against Elizabethton on Tuesday.
   Elizabethton girls tennis - swept Johnson County on Thursday, led by four 8-0 shutouts.
   BASEBALL: Happy Valley at Hampton (Monday), Cloudland at Unaka (Wednesday), Johnson County at Elizabethton (Thursday)
   SOFTBALL: Unicoi County at Happy Valley (Monday), Unaka at University High (Tuesday)
   TENNIS: Elizabethton at Unicoi (Tuesday)
   SOCCER: Elizabethton at University High (Thursday)
   TRACK: Happy Valley meet (Tuesday), Elizabethton meet (Thursday)