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Tell Students They'll Strike Out With Steroids

July 27, 2002

Baseball was rocked when Jose Canseco said 85% of Major League ballplayers were using steroids to improve their performance. Student journalist BARBARA MacLAREN spoke with a high school coach about the use of steroids and how to educate students athletes to their dangers.

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DENNIS PATRICK

HENDERSON

Varsity baseball coach,

Little Rock High School

I haven't had a problem with my players or fellow coaches using steroids, but I have played in sports where others have used them. It's not hard to recognize the symptoms. Players on steroids are more on edge, have quicker tempers and sweat profusely. I don't know why anyone would want to do that to themselves.

Any player on our team who uses drugs--including steroids--would be suspended.

Kids have to be educated about the dangers. A major problem is that steroids increase your heart rate. A player with any type of minor heart problem could cause himself a major problem.

Parents and coaches should talk to the kids and show them articles about players who have died from steroid use. Heck, Babe Ruth would have been one of the fatalities of steroids with his use of tobacco and alcohol.

I regularly talk to my players about steroids. I tell them that people come to the game to see the human, not the steroid freak. However, kids look up to professional baseball players and may think that if it's good for the pro, then it's OK for them.

High school baseball players are curious about the quick fix. They say to themselves, "Look how big he got in a short time." Then they start to ask around and usually find out that the negatives outweigh the positives.

What I try to get across is that the game of baseball should not be played by people who lack the courage to work hard and acquire the power and strength the old-fashioned way: Eat right and work hard in the weight room. The steroid user is cheating himself. In the long run, if it has a negative effect on his health he has cheated his future wife and children.

The players who admitted that they were using steroids are out of the game. That's good. The others who are still playing should try to experience greatness without steroids. Think about it this way: Would Babe Ruth's home runs count as much if he had been a steroid freak?

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