Information & Resources
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
Caffeine Use by Athletes
We consumed stimulants without being aware they ate stimulants
The most consumed stimulant in the world is caffeine. It is believed that more than 95% of the adult population of the United States consumes caffeinated products of one form or another. Caffeine is generally believed to be mildly addictive.
Caffeine is considered an illegal, performance enhancing substance in Olympic competition if found in an athlete's system in levels in excess of 12 mcg/ml (micrograms/milliliter) — an amount that is the rough equivalent to the caffeine contained in eight to ten 6 oz (175 ml) cups of coffee — consumed within two hours of testing. Warning: the caffeine content of commercially brewed coffee can vary according to the strength of the coffee blend and the amount of the ground coffee used to prepare the drink.
Because of its ergogenic effects, caffeine at high doses used to be on the list of banned substances for Olympic athletes. Caffeine is known to confers performance benefits when used in relatively small amounts; however, the consumption of caffeine is so widespread, the ban was lifted from its list of prohibited substances in 2004, by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The reason given was that it is unlikely that an athlete could ingest caffeine in excess of the Olympic standard without causing an adverse impact upon the body's renal (kidney) and urinary systems, as the diuretic impact of high levels of caffeine will reduce hydration and stimulate urine production.
The line between using in Moderation and Addiction
Alcohol, smoking, and prescription drugs are legal sold. However, manufactures place the burgeon on the user to responsibility use these chemicals. The consumption of caffeine is endemic in the world. Coffee, tea, hot, and chocolate contain various amounts of natural caffeine. Manufacturers of soft drinks and energy drinks commonly add caffeine to their products. Caffeinated drinks can easily be infused with dangerous levels of caffeine and a warning label should appear because of the danger of over dosing through the consumption of multiple drinks in a relative short period of time.
Even though caffeine consumption is legal in most countries, including the USA, we have health recommendations concerning what age groups can consume caffeine and under what circumstances. It is advisable that young athletes are actively discouraged from starting to use caffeine as a method to "wake" up for early morning or late evening practice sessions.
Voluntary testing for caffeine is not a policy that is used by high school and college coaches.
An athlete who desires to become a winner should be aware that others in the sport and the general public, will hold them up as an example representative of their sport and country. It is important to be aware skaters selected for the USFSA world or Olympic teams understand they are perceived as ambassadors of the USA. People in other countries will form opinions about the USA based on the personal conduct and ethical choices they observe or see reported in the news about our athletes.
A relatively small percentage of college athletes who participate in NCAA sports will become professional sports athletes. Those that do earn a living as an owner of a sports team, coach, or play as a professional athlete, must understand that the public takes a dim view of negative images of athletes who are associated with marketing corporate products. A moral turpitude clause is usually part of all endorsement contracts.
Warning - Athletes on the Carl Junction (Mo.) High School football team, often used
energy drinks before games. They could be bought at a local convenience store. These
high school athletes would consume them in the locker room before games. One 17 year
old lineman, who had previously used the drinks, suffered a seizure in February after
drinking two 16 ounce cans of NOS. The two drinks, when combined, contained 520
milligrams of caffeine. His neurologist, Dr. Taylor Bear, concluded the drinks played a
"primary role" in his life threatening event.
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
All materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.