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June 22, 2004

New Campaign Promotes Natural Training Regimen

FROM THE PROPONENTS OF “NATURAL” ATHLETICISM comes a new initiative to educate student-athletes on the benefits of natural training and the dangers of untested, unregulated and dangerous artificial substances.

The proponents in this case are the American College of Sports Medicine in partnership with the National Federation of State High School Associations. They are developing a poster series that will tout the benefits of nutritional food, hydration, exercise and recovery over sketchy dietary supplements to maximize athletic performance.

Acknowledging that it will be a challenge to raise awareness among the young and impressionable MTV crowd, Rochel Rittgers, Athletic Trainer at Augustana College, says, “Our student-athletes are in an age group that wants something for nothing, something quick and fast with immediate results. Nutrition in the form of real food from the grocery store isn't flashy or exciting.”

The campaign differs from previous efforts in that it will accentuate the positives (of natural substances) while minimizing mention of artificial supplements.

It is the appalling lack of control and consistency in the billion dollar dietary supplement industry that makes their use such a roll of the dice. There is no way to be certain of all the ingredients in a given product.

About one-third of the supplements marketed in the US contain products that are not listed on the label. And there is no requirement that supplements have to be guaranteed pure or safe (by the FDA) before putting them on the market.

Health considerations aside, there are serious consequences for those who are careless in their usage of dietary supplements. Says Mary Wilfert of NCAA outreach, “The student-athlete who uses a nutritional supplement without checking the ingredients and tests positive for banned substances will be held in violation of NCAA rules. And an athletics department that does not adequately educate student-athletes about NCAA-banned substances, including the risks of over-the-counter nutritional supplement use, will be held in violation."

How about an apple a day?

(this 320 word excerpt—with attendant commentary—was extracted from a 1255 word article in the NCAA News of 6-21-04)