Steroid testing in Bratt

Published 4:35 am Thursday, July 5, 2007

By By Matthew Nascone
Testing for steroids has been the talk of the trade for Major League Baseball the past couple of years, but starting next school year, student athletes at Northview High School might be tested for "the juice."
The 2007-08 school year will be the trial run for the bill Florida Gov. Charlie Crist signed into law June 19. The law states that any athlete in football, baseball or weightlifting will be subject to random drug testing. The tested group will represent 1 percent of the athletes involved with the Florida High School Athletic Association.
NHS head football coach Cody Keene said this is a good thing for Florida sports.
"I think this is a good idea," he said. "Anytime you can do something to keep athletes from starting something like steroids, we like that."
Keene has had experience with drug testing in the past.
"We tested our kids for steroids when I was at Demopolis and Muscle Shoals," Keene said. "I thought it was good then as well. It helped make our program better and I think that is what it will do now too."
Keene said he has never had to turn in an athlete he coached because of steroid use.
Miami Republican Marcello Llorente has been alongside the FHSAA for four years pushing this bill.
"I think the bill is a huge step in the right direction," said Llorente to the Miami Herald, who added that he hopes to get enough information to convince lawmakers to make the testing program last more than one year. "We can use those results to look at whether we should have a more permanent program."
A positive test would result in a 90-day athletic suspension that can be restored within 60 days if the student tests negative on a follow-up test. A mandatory drug-education program will also be required with a positive test.
And any athlete who does not provide the urine sample would be ineligible for the year. If each student's parents do not sign a consent form, that student is also ineligible.
Florida is not the first state to initiate steroid testing.
New Jersey was the first to start a statewide testing policy for high school athletes last year. The initial testing for steroids among 150 random samples failed to provide a positive result.
Last week, Texas signed a bill into law that allocated $3 million per year for testing athletes in all sports.
All Florida high school coaches in the designated sports will submit their findings to Crist by Oct. 1, 2008.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox