As young adults with a lot of pressures and responsibility, student athletes are often more susceptible to drug use. Whether it’s steroids or stimulants before a game or recreational drugs after a win, drug use is unfortunately a common occurrence for many student athletes. College administrations may not know where to begin when addressing and combating these issues. However, by testing their athletes for drugs, universities can provide better education and other helpful resources to reduce and prevent substance abuse in their athletics departments. Here are some of the benefits and purposes behind student athlete drug testing.
Deter Performance-Enhancing Drugs
The biggest reason to test student athletes for drug use is to prevent the use of steroids, hormones, and other performance-enhancing drugs, all of which are forms of cheating. Without drug testing, student athletes are free to use performance-enhancing drugs to their advantage, and they’re ultimately rewarded for their drug use. This isn’t just unfair for those who do play by the rules; it can also create lasting, far more serious health consequences for these athletes down the road. Students who use these substances should be suspended or kicked off their teams; enforcing these consequences rewards those who play fairly. By ensuring that your athletics department remains drug-free, you’re creating a fair and rewarding environment for your students. The prospect of a drug test is, in and of itself, an effective deterrent for student athletes who care about their places on their teams.
Maintain Good Reputation
Athletic teams are often the faces of their universities, and student athletes often hold a lot of responsibility and influence among their peers and community. They bring in news coverage, revenue, and other recognitions with every game or event in which they participate. Because of this, it’s important for athletics departments to provide a good image for their schools. When an administration uses a medical records tracker, they can be sure that every student athlete works to uphold that image by being safe, healthy, and drug-free. This not only creates a better influence for the community surrounding the school, but also boosts the school’s reputation in its division or conference.
Promote Student Health
Between scholarships, grades, and their performances in games, student athletes deal with a lot of pressure and responsibility. A positive drug test provides an opportunity for the school to address the issue and get the student athlete help. Drugs are the source of many serious health problems. Apart from the immediate risks of decision-making, accidents, and overdose, drug use can result in long-term harm to organs, mental health, and other parts of the body. Misusing steroids can lead to issues with the kidney, liver, and heart. Many health risks that are less common in young people—such as high blood pressure, strokes, and heart attacks—also become more of a danger as a result of drug use. By having student athletes complete regular drug tests, universities encourage them to stay drug-free and to take care of themselves and their health throughout their athletic careers.
One of the biggest risks of drug use is addiction, which is a harsh price to pay for improved performance. If student athletes know the consequences of using drugs, then they’ll be less tempted to resort to them. Drug testing is a useful preventative measure even after an athlete’s season is over. Whether it’s in post-season celebration or just throughout the rest of the academic year, recreational drugs are prevalent on many campuses. Student athletes who know they have to submit drug tests are less likely to partake in these substances, and they’re also far less likely to cave to peer pressure from their friends.
Help Identify and Resolve Issues
Universities can use drug testing to combat health issues and to keep their student athletes from suffering from health problems. When drug use becomes apparent, schools can take the necessary steps to intervene and help their students. Awareness is a big part of addressing the issue. Coaches, professors, and other faculty members are better equipped to provide support when they know the type of problem they’re facing. Having referenceable statistics about drug use in an athletics department can also make it easier to justify and finance counseling services, drug education programs, and other resources for students.
Create a Drug-Free Environment
All schools want to create and maintain safe, healthy, drug-free environments. As high-profile members of the university, student athletes are particularly susceptible to drug use. Therefore, athletics programs are good places to start in addressing a drug problem. Drug testing helps colleges gain a better understanding of what kind of issues they’re facing. By having a better idea of which drugs students are using, schools can find more specific ways to address and resolve the issue.
Set Athletes up for Success
An athlete with a positive test result can be suspended from their team or lose their scholarship, but the ultimate purpose of drug testing is to help students, not punish them. By creating a strictly drug-free environment, schools are doing what is best for their students. Staying and playing clean keeps athletes healthy in their sport and in all other aspects of their life—from scholarly to social to professional. It also improves their chances throughout the recruitment process and helps them as they pursue professional sports careers. Overall, a drug-free athletics department does a better job of setting its students on the path to success.
You want your athletes to be successful on the court or field, but you also want them to be well-rounded, upstanding citizens. A student athlete has a responsibility to their academic and professional career as well as to their athletic life. No matter what a student does in college, they’re there to pursue a career and their own betterment. Because of this, the purpose behind student athlete drug testing is to create upstanding citizens within an athletics department. By enforcing consequences and encouraging healthy and responsible decisions, universities help their student athletes grow into young professionals and set them up to achieve great things in whatever fields they enter.