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Creatine Supplementation in High School Football Players

McGuine, Timothy A. MS, ATC*; Sullivan, Jude C. MS*; Bernhardt, David T. MD

Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine: October 2001 - Volume 11 - Issue 4 - p 247-253
Clinical Investigations

Objective To describe creatine supplementation patterns and behaviors associated with creatine supplementation in high school football players.

Design A cross-sectional, multisite, anonymous, descriptive survey was conducted between October 1999 and February 2000.

Setting 37 public high schools in Wisconsin.

Subjects A total of 1,349 high school football players, grades 9–12.

Main Outcome Measures Self-reported prevalence of creatine use, as well as perceived benefits and risks. In addition, sources of information and influence regarding creatine supplementation were assessed.

Results 30% of the respondents reported using creatine. Creatine use was lowest in the 9th grade (10.4%) and highest in the 12th grade (50.5%). 41% of the players at small schools stated they used creatine compared with 29% of the players in large schools. Enhanced recovery following a workout was the most likely perceived benefit of creatine supplementation, while dehydration was cited most often as a risk of creatine use. Users were encouraged to take creatine most often by their friends while their parents discouraged creatine use.

Conclusions Creatine use is widespread in high school football players. High school football players who use creatine may not be aware of the risks and benefits associated with creatine supplementation. Sports medicine professionals who work with this population need to educate athletes, coaches, and parents about the use of creatine as a performance-enhancing supplement.

*University of Wisconsin Hospital Sports Medicine Center, Madison; and †Department of Pediatrics, University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, Madison, Wisconsin, U.S.A.

Received December 2000; accepted September 7, 2001.

Address correspondence to Timothy A. McGuine, MS, ATC, University of Wisconsin Hospital Sports Medicine Center, 621 Science Drive, Madison, WI 53711, U.S.A. E-mail:

© 2001 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.