T Nation

More football deaths

I heard on the radio today that there have been 3 pre season deaths and that in each case they found ephedrine in their bloodstreams. One was Florida University and one from Northwestern. Is that right? Coach Davies I remember you saying that you are involved with Northwestern, comments? Is this sort of thing common or new to this year?

There has been a horrible rash of athletes dying this year. I have not experienced anything like this before. I only know of the use of Ultimate Orange in the Northwestern player. In faith, Coach Davies

From what I know, ephedrine hasn’t been linked to any of the deaths. With the Ultimate Orange case, someone just mentioned they saw some in his locker last season. That’s it.

I wonder how many of these guys had ingested a soft drink the day of their death. Americans drink more cola than water after all. So, using the “logic” of the media- if all of these football players has been “on” Pepsi or had ever had Pepsi or had ever been near Pepsi, and then all of them died, the conclusion is clear- Pepsi leads to death. We must protect the kids and ban Pepsi. Who’s with me? :slight_smile:

Sort of reminds of the the “creatine deaths”. A couple of wrestlers stop drinking water, then get into a sauna with those plastic sweat suits on and then proceed to exercise while in the sauna. They died. BUT THEY HAD BEEN USING CREATINE! So that must be the cause of death, right? (Not dehydration caused by stupidity.)

Chris I am not with you on this. I think with the popularity of ephedrine it would be neglegent not to consider the possibilty of it having played a role in these deaths. Creatine increases the body need for water and ephedrine is a form of speed. Does this combination with the addition of high outdoor temperatures make athletes more suseptible to dehydration related problems ? I do not know Do you ?

I agree Chris. Ban that awful Pepsi. Just don’t ban Coca Cola. My heart would probably stop. lol. But seriously, perhaps those deaths were simply the result of heat stroke. I almost had a guy expire here on the farm loading hay on one of those hot days. Had he been on an athletic field, the medical and press nazis would be looking for all sorts of drug explanations. I think people, including some coaches who should know better, underestimate the deleterious effect heat can have on the body in conjunction with exertion. Don’t let yourself get overheated and then keep going…it isn’t worth your life to please anyone.

John- It probably comes down to a “use vs abuse” issue. I know a lot football players who use a tab of ephedrine before a game. But then some start to use 5 or 6 tabs, and then they start using that much before practice etc etc. The point is, passing laws to protect people against their own stupidity will always be a losing cause. (Actually, it’s already illegal to sell those products to 17 year olds.) Sure, there are cases where the state or government has to do this, but let’s face it- more people land in the hospital from aspirin usage than ephedrine. And there will always be those who take a safe and legal compound, take 10 times the recomemmended dose, mix it with alcohol and other drugs and end up pushing up daisies. Banning the substance doesn’t fix that problem; stupid people will always find a way to off themselves.

The issue with these deaths is dehydration and other heat related problems. The solution is water. But I wouldn’t be surprised if schools and coaches jumped on the supplement issues to cover their own asses. The real problem seems to be coaches who think that water deprivation “makes you tough”. This was a problem in Texas a few years ago. A couple of lawsuits from the parents of dead teenagers cleared that up.

I was thinking about this topic the other day. I know when I take ephedrine I feel like I can do more but it sure does hinder my endurance and gets me sweating and breathing profusely. Not only does it raise body temperature but also increases heart rate. These are probably 2 effects that you wouldn’t want to have when exercising in the heat.

I am absolute agreement with you on this one. Abuse and misuse. In faith, Coach Davies

I’ve really got to chime in here. Ephedrine/norephedrine and heat (plus pads) is a recipe for disaster. The cardiovascular stress as a result of the intense heat this summer is substantial, put on top of that the increased cardiovascular stress with Eph/nor, and the diuretic effect, and I am not surprised to see people keeling over.

I do not know if these individuals were taking eph at the time of their deaths, but I do not think a rational case can be made for the defense of eph use in the heat, during intense exercise. Unfortunately, incidents such as this are likely to bring increased scrutiny and to the supplement field. Chris, I think a better position for supplement companies to take would be to recognize the potential risk of eph consumption under extreme conditions and declare that thermogenic supplements should not be used under these conditions. That would make the industry look more responsible. OTOH, the responsible act would also be to refrain from practice in the heat. I would not want to be in the position of a coach who feels he needs to have practice when it is 95 degrees with 90 % humidity. I would feel uncomfortable requiring individuals to put themselves at risk for heat exhaustion at the very least, possibly heat stroke or death at the worst.

I have no problem exercising in extreme conditions myself, but I’m an idiot. If I keel over it is my own fault. You really have to feel for those coaches. They are between a rock and a hard place.

Good points, Steve. Actually, I don’t think stims should be used in practice at all; they should be used in a safe and sane manner on game night only (if needed). Usually, I recommend Power Drive and a caffeine tablet at most. Maybe a cap of MD6, but again, not for practice. (Power Drive alone is fine for practice however.)

Also, just thinking out loud here, would creatine loading be a problem during these summer two-a-day sessions? It would seem that if there is a problem with dehydration and creatine (and opinions are mixed on that topic), then the loading week would be the real problem. I don’t think 3-6 grams a day would be a problem, but 20? Any thoughts?

Oh! here we go. Death is always tragic, however where the blame is placed is often more tragic than death itself. If any of these guys did any real research on ECA stacks and inhalers and everything else that can kill you at the local Sav-on they would still be here. In the case of high school kids the coach is responsible for teaching the kids how to give their body what it needs. In the case of these grown men. Well…THEY ARE STUPID! How long have you been playing football? Did you ever pick up a sports nutrition book? I bet if these guys could talk from beyond the grave they would tell us that they were stupid and there is no excuse for their stupidity. You don’t just fall over and die from dehydration…it took days for Korey stringer to dehydrate himself. I bet if the guy even kept a modest training log he would still be here. Let this be a lesson to all players… do your research and come to camp in shape.

even though I don’t realy see a “need” for it I may be wrong but wouldn’t ephedrine help prevent a asma attack? I don’t think its realy that good for athletes to take it but if its a bronchiel(sp?) dialator wouldn’t it help prevent asma attacks? I think the idea of makeing someone “tough” in 100+* weather is to blame but if a school wants to blame someone it will NOT be themselves

I personally do not like to see athletes load at this time. First, if that was to be done, it should have been six months ago. That displays a lack of planning. Secondly, the incidence of dehydration, particulary with the nation-wide heatwave, increases chances of injury. What I do hope is that Coaches are reading is to hydrate there athletes properly. Get some products like Surge and dump in team-wide drinks and further enhance recovery from the demands of camp. In faith, Coach Davies

Just wanted to add my two cents.

As a football player who has used ephedrine frequently in the past - I have quite a bit of expeience. First and foremost, I have to agree with D_end about these players not doing their research. Most guys in the lockerroom here about how ‘wonderful’ a particular supplement is from other players then rush out to buy it without doing any research about the product, or even having a basic understanding about how the supplement works on a physiological level.
Another thing that everyone seems to have overlooked is the fact that although ephedrine is a bronchiodialator, it is also a vasoconstrictor - it constricts the peripheral blood vessels (Want a really good demonstration of this? Take four or five pills and watch your dick shrink up - and as a added bonus, your won’t be able to get hard for a good period of time!) Vasodialation is one of the main physiological means your body has of removing excess heat during. (this is why your face gets red and flushed, and your skin feels hot when you are working out) By dialating the peripheral blood vessels, more heat can be brought to the skin via the circulatory system, and removed through radiation/convection/conduction. With the additional complications that football players face, such as wearing equipement and their small surface area/body mass ratios, this could lead to trouble.
Although I wouldn’t advocate total abstinence from the drug, it should definitely be used with caution during hot weather, especially by football players.

Here is my expierence with heat caffiene and ephedrine. When I played Highschool football in Arizona we would have to practice 3 in the afternoon at the end of summer some days were 100+ degrees. I am notorious for taking Caffeine and Ephedrine, I knew this could be a problem in the heat so Everyday I made sure I drank at least a gallon of water before practice and then while at practice I would drink water at every chance and cover myself in Ice towels. I never had any problems. It’s not that hard to stay hydrated. People just get Dumb when they’re on the practice field.

I’d like to relate a personal experience with aspirin. I was prescribed an NSAIDS called Relafen in conjuction with a cortisone shot in my left knee. I developed horrible stomach cramps after a couple of days on Relafen. So I stopped taking them and the pains went away. I figured I could take some aspirin as a safer substitute. Boy was I wrong! I got horrible cramps again. I actually woke up at night from the pain. I quit taking the aspirin and the symptoms cleared up in a few days, but that really gave me a scare. When I did some research on aspirin, someone noted that if aspirin was “discovered” today, it would never be approved as an over the counter drug, because it causes stomach bleeding in many people.

Guys, are you honestly surprised that the press screws these things up? Most mainstream writers and news people are so ignorant, so utterly uninterested in “exposing the truth”, and so incompetent that the ONLY reason that they haven’t been canned is that the public is only slightly more ignorant than they are. Remember the .357 magnum bullet that could “crack an engine block”, or the infamous “cop-killer” bullets (which were so named before ANY police officer had been shot with one)? How about the nonsense that followed the Columbine tragedy? Oh, yeah, it was the video games and the black trechcoats, guys. Please. Honestly, if these are the folks that are charged with bringing the truth to the people, we’re better off ignoring them. What has happened with these athletes is truly tragic. However, to point to any one factor (creatine, ephedrine, etc.) and claim that that was the cause of death is simplistic and irresponsible. There were likely a number of contributing factors that led to these deaths, but I find it hard to believe that responsible supplement use was among them. My heart goes out to the friends and families of these athletes, but we cannot let emotion skew our judgement so radically that we lose the ability to think rationally. Then again, rationality is the first thing to fly out the window when there are newspapers to sell. End of rant, I’m gonna go lift.

The interview was done by an announcer here who was talking to some sports announcer in USA I think New York and the name Mick the Brick sticks in my mind, it was him who said “ephedrine had been found in the bloodstreams of all the players” refering to the college players and Kirk Stringer. I agree that it is common for the mainstream media to grab things and blow them out of proportion, it’s easier to blame a supplement than to say the person who died stuffed up.