Mar 27 2009
Once the House Bill 272 is approved at state senate, all Illinois high school athletes will undergo a random steroid testing. State Rep. Jack Franks proposed that the IHSA should prohibit a student from participating in an athletic competition sponsored or sanctioned by the association unless the student agrees not to use certain performance-enhancing substances.
Further, if the student is currently enrolled in high school, the student submits to random testing for the presence of these substances. This bill is not only focused on student athlete but also on coaches. It will also require high school coaches to complete an educational program on the prevention of abuse of performance-enhancing substances and to complete a proficiency exam.
The bill which got an unanimous approval in the House of Representative was voted 116-0. It was already passed to the state senate for approval and the governor for the final stage.
Under this bill, The (IHSA) Illinois High School Association would administer the drug testing. Although the IHSA has an existing drug testing policy, this would just expand its scope and implementation. Students that will be tested positive for steroids and other performance enhancing drugs will be prohibited from participating in any athletic competition for a certain period of time. Results of the tests will be kept confidential.
It also aim to randomly test more than 1000 students from all member schools of IHSA. They will be using urine samples to screen for any banned or prohibited substances that a student athlete may take.
What is good about this proposal is the fine that will be imposed to those students who will get positive results. Offenders will have to pay a fine of $50 for every positive result. This will help lessen the burden of the IHSA in shouldering the cost of drug tests.
IHSA executive director, Marty Hickman said that the existing performance-enhancing drug testing program has been a valuable deterrent thus far and they welcome any state assistance in helping to make this program even better.
According to state representative Franks, this bill aims to protect the students who may turn to steroids and other performance enhancing drugs just to be in the pro. “There’s much more pressure on them to perform more and more now. It’s lucrative for them to get scholarships.” Franks said that kids usually make decisions based on short term gains instead of what’s in their best long term interest.
Franks’ plan was influenced by the former University of Illinois and Chicago Bears Dick Butkus who introduced him to Don Hooton, an anti-steroid crusader. Don Hooton established the Taylor Hooton Foundation to educate the young athletes on steroid use. His son committed suicide as a result of steroid abuse. He is now asking more people to help him in his mission, including lawmakers to pass laws that will deter steroid use among teens.