Budget Cuts Mean Less Steroid Testing

Diana Crawford
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, Texas - Major cut backs are being made to several programs statewide, including one that tests high school athletes for steroids.

The steroid testing program for University Interscholastic League athletes is scaling back, thanks to cuts the Texas legislature has determined are necessary.

The program was originally designed in 2007 to cast a wide net and test thousands of students at random. It began with a $3 million dollar budget, now knocked down to $750,000.

Over the past couple of years close to 35,000 athletes have been tested. Now just over 4,500 students are expected to be checked. Only 21 athletes have tested positive statewide and last year there were zero. AISD Athletic Director Brad Thiessen says, "In the last three years we have tested a little over 500 kids within AISD and found no positive results, so it's not going to change what we do as coaches. We are still responsible to make sure we are educating the kids as much as we can, as far as the harmful effects of steroids and we're going to continue to do that."

Thiessen says the plug should not be pulled on the program because it is an issue kids are faced with regularly. He adds the test is a good deterrent, one he feels prevents many students even taking the risk of using steroids.