East Texas Athletes Feel Pressure To Take Supplements

There's big pressure under the Friday night lights, and East Texas athletes feel that pressure every time they take the field. Because of the scrutiny, some try and take supplemental shortcuts. Chuck Castloo's son A.J. was sold a dietary supplement by his high school baseball coach.

"He came in from baseball practice that afternoon," Castloo recalls, "he had told his mom that he had severe headaches. He was sick to his stomach and felt like his heart was about to jump out of his chest."

Castloo was upset when he realized the supplements were not for use by a fifteen year old. "It should have been called to our attention up front, that no one under eighteen should take it."

In fact, it is illegal in Texas for any school employee to sell or even recommend dietary supplements that are not tested by the FDA. Even unapproved supplements sold over the counter are not guaranteed safe.

Channel 7 Med Team's Dr. Ed Dominguez explains, "Quite a few of the supplements are actually imported in and once imported, we lose track of how they were produced. We have no regulation over that."

And so for some athletes, pressure to perform can come from all over, and result in unsafe decisions. Castloo says, "I feel like peer pressure from his coach was part of why our son wanted to do it, to think he was pleasing his coach."

The Harmony High School coach who was selling the supplement was given a public reprimand and two years probation by the UIL. Following that punishment, the coach asked to be reassigned by the Harmony schools.