Performance-Enhancer Eyed in High School Illnesses
Cluster of football injuries puzzles experts
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 24, 2010 3:08 AM CDT
McMinnville High School football team head coach Jeff Kearin looks on before making remarks during a news conference yesterday.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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(Newser) – Despite denials from players and students, authorities in Oregon suspect it was the use of a muscle-enhancing supplement that caused 19 members of a high school football team to drop like flies after a training camp. The 13 McMinnville High School players who were hospitalized are being tested for creatine, an over-the-counter supplement widely used by bodybuilders, ABC News reports.

Three of the players needed surgery for compartment syndrome, a rare condition which occurs when pressure on a muscle group soars. Experts say it is highly unusual for the syndrome to occur in clusters like the one in Oregon. "I think it is creatine. This is why its use is banned by many trainers," said a University of Michigan expert. "At the same time it is heavily promoted, also by some trainers as well as by nutrition stores." Other experts suspect overexertion caused by overzealous coaching could be to blame.