EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - In light of a confession from one of Wisconsin's best-known athletes, Eau Claire coaches said they're concerned about the growing popularity of steroids among impressionable young athletes.
Milwaukee Brewers slugger Ryan Braun released two statements
Thursday; one to reporters and another to fans apologizing for his use of banned substances.
The 2011 National League MVP said: "I want to apologize for my actions and provide a more specific account of what I did and why I deserved to be suspended. I have no one to blame but myself.” “I kept the truth from everyone. For a long time, I was in denial and convinced myself that I had not done anything wrong."
The Brewers star was suspended for 65 games without pay for violating the major league baseball's drug program.
Eau Claire Memorial High School head baseball coach David Sparger said he's a die-hard Brewers fan and stood by Ryan Braun when he was first accused of using steroids.
Now disappointed by his use and initial denial, Sparger said he's glad Braun finally admitted to taking a cream and lozenge while rehabbing from an injury in 2011.
“He was honest with us, at least the second time, about why he was trying to recover from the injury and those kind of things,” Sparger said.
He said he understands the motivation of players to use performance enhancing drugs, and that pros could influence others to do to the same.
“They just want to get to the next level, they want to land the big contract where they can be financially set for the rest of their life.”
“I'd like to think that it really hasn't gone to the high school level. I'd hope the kids are young enough; the parents have enough support in that system and can watch over them a little bit better. I think it has trickled down to the college level. I've had my boys now go through the college ranks, they talk about it a little bit, they've seen a little bit of it going on.”
“That's just something you look back on, you don't remember how great of players they were, you remember, oh yeah, they cheated.”
According to the Mayo Clinic, performance enhancing drugs can cause high blood pressure, heart problems, depression, diabetes, and death.
“Kids have to realize with the testing that's going on and everything that's happening with all this stuff, it's just not worth the risk. If they truly want to make it to the next level, let your talent do the work … make the stuff that you put into it pay off in the end, and don't try to cheat your way to the next level. Don't try to cheat your way into being more successful. Do it the right way, do it with hard work, and good things will happen for you,” Sparger said.
U.W. Eau Claire head football coach Todd Glaser said steroids haven't been a problem at the D-3 level. He did, however echo Sparger's concern about any impressionable players who are willing to take the risk.