CHATTANOOGA, Tenn.--Nearly 90 percent of Tennessee high school coaches believe the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), including steroids and sports supplements, is prevalent among high school athletes according to a recent survey conducted by BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and the Tennessee Secondary School Athletic Association (TSSAA).

The survey’s results reflect the answers of more than 900 Tennessee high school coaches of 18 TSSAA-sanctioned sports. Conducted as part of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s Healthy Competition program, the survey measured coaches’ perceived use of PEDs by young athletes and also examined coaches’ knowledge of potential side effects and different uses of these substances.

The survey’s results also show coaches’ support of the Healthy Competition program’s goal to educate young athletes about the dangers of using PEDs. Of the coaches surveyed, 88 percent believe educating student athletes of the dangers of using PEDs is important, and nearly 55 percent do not think their students understand the long-term consequences of using these substances.

“These results provide us with a striking look at coaches’ perception of the use of PEDs, including sports supplements, among Tennessee’s young athletes and the need for education on the dangers of these substances,” said Gina Bever of BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee, who coordinates the health care insurer’s Healthy Competition program. “This fall, we are expanding our Healthy Competition research to reach students and parents, which will help us measure the full scope of the PEDs issue in Tennessee.”

As a further expansion of its Healthy Competition program, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee is producing an educational DVD that will be distributed to middle and high schools across the state this fall. The DVD, which features interviews with several notable figures including Tennessee Titans’ Head Coach Jeff Fisher, TSSAA Executive Director Ronnie Carter and Vanderbilt University Director of Athletic Dining Majid Noori, addresses the dangers of using PEDs and discusses ways to improve athletic performance through healthy training and proper nutrition.

Parents and students can participate in anonymous, online surveys at the Healthy Competition Web site, www.HealthyCompetitionTN.org. Through this research, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee hopes to benchmark the extent of this problem in Tennessee and explore new ways its Healthy Competition program can help combat PED use.

For more information on BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee’s Healthy Competition program, visit www.HealthyCompetitionTN.org. The interactive site features content tailored to coaches, parents and students, including tips for safe and healthy athletic training, the warning signs of PED use and advice for parents if they think their child is using PEDs.

About Healthy Competition

To address the growing problem of performance-enhancing drug (PED) use among Tennessee’s young athletes, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee developed the Healthy Competition program to encourage drug-free and safe play and educate young athletes, coaches and parents about the dangers of PEDs. For more information, visit www.HealthyCompetitionTN.org.

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at www.bcbst.com.