Doctors warn against young athletes consuming energy drinks - KCTV5 News

Doctors warn against young athletes consuming energy drinks

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Back to school means back to practice for student athletes across the metro.

But health experts are warning a lot of those teens are relying on the wrong drink to get a boost of energy.

Doctors say more and more children and teenagers are winding up in emergency rooms because they're ingesting much caffeine.

It is an especially huge risk for young athletes who are just getting back out on the field. Both doctors and coaches say these drinks are not worth the temporary boost.

On the lawn of Kearney High School, cross country runners stretched and did sit ups in their first practice Wednesday morning - all before first period.

"It gets pretty intense. I'm really tired of school whenever we have morning practices," senior Holli Adams said.

Adams admits it is a lot of work, but she can't rely on energy drinks to keep her going.

However, people won't see any energy drinks on the field. Coaches say they aren't tolerating caffeine at any level before a practice.

The biggest health hazard during the season is dehydration, a process sped up by caffeine.

"Increase their heart rate which can lower their blood pressure when they are dehydrated. The energy drink can raise the blood pressure, taxing the heart," said Dr. Rachel Hayley with Lee Summit Medial Center.

Now, doctors and health experts are sounding the alarm. More young athletes are choosing energy drinks over water, and they say the drink companies need to share some of the blame.

"They see professional athletes drinking those energy drinks. They think it will help their performance because they get a little more excited," said Owen Iseminger, Kearney High School's athletic trainer.

Coaches, trainers and doctors all emphasize that water is the healthiest and safest way to the finish line.

Doctors say other short-term risks include mood swings, heart palpitations and dizziness. And the long-term hazards are serious, such as kidney and liver disease.

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