A group of Wisconsin high school football players have been suspended for doing something thousands of other teens across the country do every single day: Drinking an "energy drink" they picked up from a local store.
As reported by Eau Claire Leader-Telegram and WEAU.com, among other Wisconsin news sources, 10 players for the Menomonie (Wis.) High football program were suspended for the first three games of the 2012 season on Wednesday after they admitted consuming a pre-workout energy drink that they purchased from a local athletic nutrition store. The drink that the students bought, a Creatine Nitrate product called C4 Extreme manufactured by the pro workout supplement company Cellucor, unknowingly contained Synephrine, a substance that is considered "performance enhancing" and is banned by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association.
That violation of WIAA code carries with it an automatic Menomonie-district imposed three-game ban, meaning the students who were drinking C4 will now be forced to sit out the first three games of the forthcoming campaign.
Menomonie district officials announced the suspensions shortly after being in contact with the WIAA about the violations. Still, the unnamed banned players claim that they had no idea that the drink included any banned substances at all, and assumed it would be safe because it was legally purchased at a local store.
While Menomonie football coach Joe LaBuda lauded the students for stepping forward and admitting that they had purchased and consumed the illegal substance unknowingly, both the Menomenie superintendent and a WIAA official offered little sympathy for the students' suspension.
"I think if the boys would have read the label they would have known," Menomonie Superintendent Chris Stratton told the Leader-Telegram. "This product is being promoted commercially."
Added WIAA Deputy Director Wade Lebecki:
"You can see [the advantage from performance enhancing substances] at every level; pro, NCAA, or at the high school level.
"Performance-enhancing substances are banned for that purpose," he said. "The other reason is when you have young adolescents, in developing their bodies, can cause problems ... can cause kidney issues, and can even lead to death."
Now, 10 budding football players will have three games this fall to think over those consequences.