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Rugby Teens at Risk from Supplements

Posted by Sally O'Brien, on 02/10/2014. Rugby Teens at Risk from SupplementsTags: Parenting

The Irish Sports Council has issued a warning about the amount of sports supplements being used with teenagers as young as 14 years old in school rugby.

“Worrying and Excessive”

The director of Anti-Doping, Dr Una May, told the Irish Independent that the sport medicine experts were seeing an ‘unusual amount’ of injuries in players at school level.

"They are increasing their muscle bulk at a rate that's not in proportion to their overall development," she told the Irish Independent.

"Therefore their muscular skeletal system is all out of sync. Their bone structure can't cope; neither can their tendons and ligaments cope with the increase in muscle strength.We don't know what the long-term implications of using these products will be," she added.

The IRFU strongly advises against the use of protein supplements and has released a guide on sports nutrition for players under 18 years old: “The use of protein supplements should not be recommended by schools, coaches, teachers or others involved in the training of young athletes.” They advocate young rugby players should focus on good eating and drinking practices to support optimum performance.

The union’s national performance nutritionist, Ruth Wood-Martin, told the Irish Examiner recently, that no player under 18 should use supplements such as creatine, which are widely available on the internet and on the high street. Furthermore, these supplements can contain harmful substances that individuals may not be aware of and will cause them to fail anti-doping tests along with causing long-term health problems.

According to, creatine can have serious medical side effects on the body including gastrointestinal diseases, effect liver function, anxiety and depression, and can cause long term effects including asthma and other allergies.


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