Collegiate athletes cautioned against effects of medicine

The peak of flu season falls between late December and March, and flu medicine will become everyone’s best friend.

However, collegiate athletes have to pay closer attention to some of those drugs, because they could trigger a positive in a performance enhancing drug test. Performance enhancing drugs have been a reoccurring issue in sports for the past ten years.

This puts a premium on drug testing for collegiate athletes in order to keep sports clean before they reach the professional level.

Since some common over the counter flu and cold medicine can trigger a positive drug test collegiate athletes should be more aware.

Student athletes can’t afford to fall ill in this rocky landscape that labeled as the drug culture.

After recent discoveries of usage by professionals like Alex Rodriguez and Shawn Merriman, the influence of college athletes is an important issue. Theraflu and Robitussin are common products that could trigger a positive test without the athlete’s knowing, and could cost them a year of eligibility. This forces athletes to become more aware of what goes into their bodies.

Akima Abrakata-Dina, FAMU’s head athletic trainer, said that it is highly important for collegiate athletes to stay away from performance enhancing drugs, and stay in contract with the trainers who prescribed any drugs from a physician.

“Athletes should always check with the trainers before taking anything, so we can better access the situation,” said Abrakata-Dina.

FAMU has a reasonably clean record when it comes to drug tests performed by the NCAA according to Abrakata-Dina. She said there hasn’t been an incident involving a positive drug test in eight years.

“There was a positive test 8-years-ago, which was triggered by a athlete taking a dietary supplement to try to lose some weight,” Abrakata-Dina continued.

She said that the positive test was unknowingly, that’s why the trainers conduct learning sessions that educated athletes about what not to use.  Collegiate athletes are still responsible for the substances that enter their systems no matter the situation, and Darryl Evans knows the importance.

Darryl Evans, a third year physical education student from Merrillville, Ind., said a good workout plan is the best way to avoid being sick, which may cause him to use over the counter medicine that could trigger a positive test.

“I work out religiously,” said Evans, who is also an outfielder for the FAMU baseball team, “and I drink a lot of orange juice to keep my immune system strong.”

If tested positive then a student-athlete is declared ineligible for all regular season and postseason competition until the NCAA student-athlete reinstatement staff reinstates eligibility.

The NCAA spends an estimated $4 million each year for its national drug-testing program as reported on

Also reported on, Phenylephrine and Pseudoephedrine are stimulants that are not banned by the NCAA, which can commonly be  found in nonprescription cold and allergy medicine.