There was much debate in 2009 about security in schools and whether greater enforcement is required to avoid drugs and even weapons in our schools. This was followed by an interesting poll on the Supersport website and the section SuperSchools.
The SuperSchools website posted a poll with the question “Should drug testing be mandatory for school 1st team players?”
This managed to gather huge public participation with about 3 000 votes cast on the issue.
An overwhelming 84% of those who voted believed that rugby at school level has become so competitive that it is needed to have drug testing to ensure fair play! Others believed that it is ludicrous to even consider drug testing in school sport.
What this does indicate is that performance enhancing drugs are very real and a threat to the health of many of our upcoming sport stars!
The story on the Supersport website also reveals that leading sports scientist Prof Tim Noakes has estimated that doping prevalence in schools was 10% to -20% but that estimate, in the absence of a testing programme has to be based on anecdotal evidence.
It would be very unfortunate if young lives are lost and potential sporting careers ended in the attempts to improve performance. It would be important for schools, coaches and parents to be part of the attempt to provide counselling to these young players and to advise against the use of performance enhancing drugs.