Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Illinois High School Assoc. (IHSA) To Begin Drug Testing

Illinois becomes the fourth state to implement HS level performance enhancing drug testing (CA, TX, NJ) and the first to do so without a mandate from its state legislature.

BRAVO IHSA!! Lead from the front.

Donald Fehr, Bud Selig...care to follow? NFL...don't go too far - you're next!

IHSA Board Moves Forward With Performance-Enhancing Drug Testing Program

The Illinois High School Association’s Board of Directors at its monthly meeting Monday (Jan. 14) moved forward with a proposal to implement a random testing program for performance-enhancing substances used by athletes who compete in IHSA state series, beginning with the 2008-09 school term. The action was taken after results of a survey of member schools, conducted over the last five weeks, showed that school principals strongly supported such a program.

“With its action today, the Board has taken an important step toward protecting the integrity of the interscholastic experience for high school students in Illinois,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “It is clear our membership understands the serious health risks associated with the use of performance-enhancing substances. Our new testing policy will protect the health of our youth and give students a reason to say no when the pressures mount to take a shortcut. Assistant Executive Director Kurt Gibson, with the support and guidance of the Association’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee, has done a great job developing our policy and will continue to spearhead this important project.”

The plan calls for random testing of student-athletes during selected IHSA state series competitions. In advance of the 2008-09 school term, the IHSA Board of Directors will finalize a series of items related to the implementation of the plan. The IHSA’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee will continue its work in preparing necessary recommendations and information for the Board and member schools to ensure the program’s start next school year.
Over the remainder of the current school term, the Board will finalize the following items:

Selection of a collection agent and lab
Determination of the exact scope of the testing program
Selection of a Medical Review Officer
Determination of the penalties for a student-athlete who tests positive
Determination of the penalties for a school whose student-athlete tests positive

“Our membership and the Board of Directors have sent an important message today to student-athletes across the state,” Gibson said. “That message reinforces the concern schools have for the safety, well-being, and healthy development of their students. By taking this action, it is our hope that, as the first state to implement this type of testing without a legislative mandate, student-athletes will realize and understand the expectations our schools have for their training for interscholastic competition. Our staff and Sports Medicine Advisory Committee look forward to finalizing the components of our testing plan during the remainder of this school year.”

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