Energy overdose: Coaches share energy drink concerns with student athletes
Jonathan Leong, Entertainment Editor
November 23, 2010
Filed under Sports
In the final week of October, girls’ soccer coach Ed Watson forwarded an e-mail attachment to all his athletes informing them about the potential dangers of using energy drinks.
Found on athleticbusiness.com, the article mentions not only the health facts regarding energy drinks, but specific cases of students who needed to be hospitalized because they had symptoms of tachycardia – an abnormally high heart rate caused by the energy drinks.
“More often than not, students come in the office feeling hyper, and they’re shaking, and they tell me that they [purchased and] drank energy drinks, like Monster,” school nurse Meg Gluck said. “I call their parents and they’re totally unaware. The students who come are not even just athletes, they’re just normal students.”
Caffeine concentrations in energy drinks may range from the equivalent of an eight-ounce cup of coffee to twice that much, according to the National Federation’s Sports Medicine Advisory Committee. High doses of caffeine might also produce light-headedness, tremors, difficulty with fine-motor-control skills and greater fluid loss.
According to the article, “the symptoms [resulting in ingesting the energy drinks] resemble issues related to substance abuse.” .
Most companies avoid advertising their product as nothing other than what they are.
The makers of Red Bull – a popular brand of energy drink – admits on an Internet website that their “drink has not been formulated to deliver re-hydration. [They] encourage people who engage in sports also to drink lots of water during intense exercise.”
Originally, Watson obtained the Internet article from Central’s Athletic Director, Marty Bee. Watson felt that his athletes “should be aware” before their season begins in March. Watson explains that even though girls’ soccer doesn’t start until the spring, the girls may be playing and practicing outside of Central. .
“Energy drinks are going to raise your heart rate, and playing sports will raise your heart rate, too, so together it’s like a double-whammy to your body,” Watson said.
Bee says that he is also “not a fan” of energy drinks.
“Athletes should just eat right, get proper rest and train well. If there’s something wrong going on, your body will tell you, and then you have to think to yourself ‘I’m missing something so maybe I have to alter my workout.’”
In the recent years, high schools and universities have even banned energy drink consumption in general.
According to some schools, for example Virginia High School mentioned in Watson’s e-mail, a student-athlete caught consuming an energy drink would be asked to dispose of it. Staff members are discouraged from drinking them around students. Also, vendors wouldn’t be permitted to provide free samples to the students.
Senior girls’ soccer player Krissy Many agrees that there are other alternatives than choosing to drink energy drinks.
“Not a lot of people know this, but apples have more caffeine than a cup of coffee,” Many said. “I don’t drink energy drinks … but I do know other people who rely on them to get them through the day, and whenever they run out they say something like ‘I got to get another energy drink.’ Energy drinks are the easy way out sometimes, but I think it’s important to take care of your body in the long term.”