Concerns Grow Over Teens Looking For Athletic Boost From Testosterone

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UPDATED: Wednesday July 30, 2014 11:57 PM

Students will be suiting up for high school football season within the next month.

Many players dream of sports scholarships for their post high school career. However, there are some that are willing to seek hormonal help to accomplish this.

Chad Zimmerman is a natural body builder who competes in tournaments. He says some body builders take hormones as a shortcut to pump up.

"You're going to get to where you want to go faster, with the use of testosterone and other illegal supplements." Zimmerman said.

But this desire is not just in the world of body building. It’s also starting to reach high school athletes.

Testosterone is the male hormone that deepens voices, increases facial hair, and improves sex drive. But it also builds muscles.

Zimmerman says in some gyms, testosterone supplements are for sale.

"If you know the right person or the right group of people, it would be fairly easy to get," Zimmerman said.

In order to take testosterone, you need a prescription from a doctor. But consumers can buy what's called testosterone boosters or supplements from stores.

Annie Hsu Griffin is an owner for HSU & Co. Health and Nutrition, and says the requests for the boost have been on the rise.

"We're getting parents coming in saying, ‘Hey, my son plays football. We're looking for him to get a scholarship. And we're looking for him to have an edge.’ "

Hsu Griffin says the store specializes in natural products, including some designed to support the body's own testosterone. She says with an increase in popularity, they've had shoplifters target these products.

"You need to ask at the counter for the products,” Hsu Griffin said. “We have the products positioned very near the register so it is something that we can sort of keep an eye on.”

Dr. Marcel Casavant is the director of Central Ohio Poison Center, and says he worries about teens that use testosterone.

"They can get a number of injuries to muscles and joints and ligaments and tendons just by stressing themselves too hard in their exercise,” Casavant said.

He also said they can do long-term damage to the liver, kidneys, and heart. In the short-term, acne, male-pattern baldness, and aggression can occur.

Unfortunately, schools and hospitals cannot test for the drug because there is no true test.

The Ohio High School Athletic Association has no policy on it either.

So as practices begin for the upcoming high school football season, experts warn against a quick fix for that extra edge.

"The easy answer is, they're just not safe,” Casavant said.

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