IHSA continues Drug Testing Program

By on August 11, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.—The Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Board of Directors approved a recommendation to continue the Association’s Performance-Enhancing Drug Testing Program at its regularly scheduled Board meeting on Monday, Aug. 8.

The IHSA became the fourth state high school association in the country to offer a performance-enhancing drug testing program when it implemented its program during the 2008-09 school year, and remains one of three current states continuing to test.

The IHSA’s testing program changed slightly after its inaugural year, as House Bill 272 was signed into law prior to the 2009-10 school year and would also govern the testing during the 2010-11 school term. The law required that certain testing benchmarks be met each year and also required an educational component be completed by all member school coaches.

During the 2010-11 school year, the IHSA tested 747 student-athletes, including four positive tests. Two of the four were cleared by the Medical Review Officer, marking the first two punishable offenses in the program’s history.

“The state law mandating the testing has sunset,” said IHSA Executive Director Marty Hickman. “Regardless, the IHSA funded the program during its first year (2008-09) and was prepared to do so again. Our board believes in this program and made it clear that they want it to continue. I commend them for that decision.”

Over the course of its three-year history, 1,758 tests have been conducted by the IHSA Performance-Enhancing Drug Testing Program.

“Some people will look at the number of positive test results and conclude that the testing is not working,” added Hickman. “But, it is important to maintain perspective. The scope of our testing was never going to be large enough to catch every student who may be using performance-enhancing drugs. The program was put into place to be a deterrent to help prevent students from using these harmful drugs and we believe it is successfully serving that purpose.”