Does Texas High School Steroid Education Video Work?

The State of Texas University Interscholastic League (UIL) produced a steroid education video entitled “The Making of a Champion.” The steroid education video was released in conjunction with the introduction of steroid testing in public high school sports in Texas.

The video features lengthy segments featuring high school teenage athletes who used steroids and suffered. The video implies that anabolic steroids caused stroke and paralysis in one case; it implies that steroids caused suicide in the other case (Taylor Hooton). This type of “scare tactic” approach is common in state produced steroid education and anti-drug productions.

Legislators and state educators need to realize that what is negative to adults is not necessarily negative to teenagers. High school athletes contemplating the use of steroids are much more motivated by the positive reinforcement resulting from steroids; their behavior isn’t as heavily influenced by fear of uncertain punishment, especially the low probability, overstated, exaggerated, or downright inaccurate side effects promoted in typical steroid education videos.

There was an insightful comment by a high school student who watched the UIL steroid education video. He watched the emotional scare tactics involving steroids and stroke/paralysis, and steroids and suicide, but this apparently had little influence on him; his biggest concern was the risk of tendon tears.

Me and a couple of friends got a little worried about it after we watched it… One thing that really scared me is your muscles get too strong for your tendons and then your muscles rip out your tendons.

The scare tactics didn’t work; he was more influenced by the (more realistic) possible effect on performance. What is negative to adults and what is negative to high school athletes are not necessarily the same thing.

In society’s obsession with steroids, I think the real concerns are often ignored. The student goes on to say:

That [steroids] can take you out of football for life, and football is my life.

A discussion of the overemphasis of athletics in high schools (especially in Texas) and winning by everyone involved is critical in the steroid debate.

Steroid Education Video by UIL Texas: The Making of a Champion

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