Normally, this column has been about historical or political issues that are just to the right of center on the political spectrum. If people are honest and knowledgeable about American history, they will discover that this is exactly where our Founding Fathers intended us to be as a people. Hopefully, readers of this column will indulge it’s author the privilege of a rare rant. It’s not about who’s right, but what is right.
    Sadly, our society has morphed into more of who’s right instead of the later. We have lost our moral compass along our way and the uncivilized hordes are not only at our gates, but within out midst. At the very least, we have certainly lost our sensibilities of decent manners and the tenets of the Golden Rule. There is not a person living who desires to be treated with disrespect or ugliness. Yet, many of us engage in exactly that. Especially when we disagree with someone. We have allowed our disagreements to turn into something that – dare it be said - borders on hate.
    No one likes for their ox to be gored, but for some, it is an excuse to allow human ugliness to surface and take over a person’s senses. Some even become so incensed that they become temporarily insane. This isn’t about the far left or the “mainstream” media and their hatred for President Trump because they can’t deal with losing the last election. No, today’s column hits much closer to home.
    Recently, this author wrote a couple of articles about performance enhancing supplements being used in the Heber Springs High School football program. A concerned mother, who is not only concerned about the health of her own children, but the health of other children as well, had the courage to speak out about the possible health risks resulting from the use of performance enhancing supplements by young athletes.
    Jamie Huitt spoke out after several meetings with the athletic director and the superintendent proved unfruitful. Her request that young athletes be educated by the coaching staff concerning the health risks of performance enhancing supplements was not unreasonable, but unfortunately was met with obstinacy. As a parent who had disallowed her children of possessing and using performance enhancing supplements, she was understandably upset to learn that the coaching staff had provided her son these products without her knowledge and authorization. School policy prohibits the possession and use of non-FDA regulated products on district school campuses. School authorities are not allowed to provide any “health” product unless it is expressly authorized by a student’s parents.
    School staff members are responsible for escalating the issue to the point Ms. Huitt felt she had no other recourse then to initiate a DHS investigation into the matter of coaches providing performance enhancing products to minors and to use the media to voice her concerns about the health risks resulting from their use. Reporters who were assigned the story did their own research and found that all parents should be concerned about performance enhancing products, many laced with NCAA, NFL and MLB banned substances like anabolic steroids, an illegal substance.
    Here are the facts. The Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA) doesn’t authorize the FDA to regulate dietary supplements because they are labeled a food. Nor does the FDA have the resources or power to enforce any regulation resulting from their investigation of a substance that has resulted in “adverse health events” to the public. There is little or no research that has been done as to the effects of performance enhancing supplements on teens, but there is growing research and evidence of the adverse effect these products have on adults. If it’s not good for adults, it’s not good for teens or anyone who is truly concerned about their health.
    Unfortunately, the focus isn’t on health. It’s about winning at all costs. It’s about being a star football, baseball or basketball player. It’s about building a self-esteem based on how you look in the mirror. Ask any former collegiate or professional athlete who used these “safe” products, pushing their bodies past their physical limits and who are now suffering lifelong disabilities and illnesses.
    It is the responsibility of coaches and parents to educate young athletes about these products and to educate them that a well-balanced diet, rigorous exercise and restorative sleep are their best options for a healthy self-esteem and optimum performance in a sport. The pressure for teens to perform as an adult, disregarding their growing bodies and minds, is overwhelming in today’s culture. They should be provided the right tools to grow into adulthood with healthy bodies, minds and spirits.
    Jamie Huitt should be thanked for bringing this health issue to the attention of the community. Yet, those who have felt that she has gored their ox have demeaned, lied about her and have gone so far as to threaten her and her family. Yes, threaten. Any reasonable person would call a pellet gun shooting of her bedroom window in the middle of the night a threat. She has been accused of being upset that her son wasn’t getting more playing time. If that were the case, she certainly wouldn’t have complained about performance enhancing products being provided to her son. She would have encouraged this activity. This is where some people border on insanity.
    In the past, people with the courage to take a stand for what is right would have been called a hero. It’s time to resurrect this tradition. Jamie Huitt is a hero in my book.