There’s no question that the pressure in youth sports has become increasingly high over the years. The money and time dedicated to exclusive camps, extended travel, and elite club teams have reached epic proportions in the quest for stardom, scholarships, and status. Even in youth sports, there are also many examples of success or self-worth being sought through darker means, including the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) like human growth hormone (hGH) and testosterone.
When it comes to how success is achieved, there’s also no question that young athletes are very much influenced by those around them. In addition to parents, athletes are often influenced by coaches, trainers, medical support personnel, professional sports idols, and their peers.
Young athletes exposed to the win-at-all-costs attitudes of others are susceptible to adopting the behaviors that go along with that climate, and in some cases, may even be directed to abuse substances. These substances can enhance performance and violate the rules of sport, but more importantly, they can lead to devastating physical and mental effects.
As parents, it’s important to evaluate the influencers in your athlete’s life and be aware of substance abuse warning signs. Here are three red flag phrases that might indicate your athlete is in a risky situation or facing pressure to dope.