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Two Texas high school athletes tested positive for steroids

AUSTIN -- Among 10,000 Texas high schoolers tested this spring, only two student-athletes tested positive for steroids, officials said.

Both supporters and critics of the largest steroids testing program in the country said the results validate their positions.

"I pushed this important legislation through the Legislature because I knew it would deter our young people from wrecking their bodies and putting their lives at risk by using illegal steroids," Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said in a story in Monday's online edition of The Houston Chronicle.

Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, one of seven state lawmakers to vote against the steroid-testing program, wants it abolished.

"This is one of those issues that sounds good but has no real impact except wasting taxpayer dollars," Patrick said. "I don't want to diminish the seriousness of steroids, but you can't take a sledgehammer to kill a gnat."

The National Center for Drug Free Sport was selected in January to run Texas' massive high school steroids testing program after competing with 13 other companies for the two-year, $6 million program.

The company's preliminary results are based on 10,407 student-athletes who were tested since February, when state officials launched the random steroid-testing program mandated by state lawmakers.

The first positive test for anabolic steroid use triggers a 30-day suspension from competition. State officials would not identify the schools in which a student-athlete failed the steroid test.

Experts predicted that random steroid tests would result in less than 1 percent of students testing positive, said Jeff Kloster, associate commissioner for health and safety at the Texas Education Agency.

The program missed the football season, although the random tests did include football players in the offseason. Patrick doubted that testing student-athletes during the football season this fall would produce significant changes.

The steroid-testing program is scheduled to pick back up in the fall, with an estimated 30 percent of student-athletes at 400 Texas public high schools to be randomly tested. Between 40,000 and 50,000 student-athletes will be tested next school year, state officials said.

The results of the second-year testing program likely will determine future funding, said Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, who sponsored the steroid-testing legislation in the House.

"If we come back and you have just another two positive tests, then I think it would be realistic to scaling it back some," he said. "I don't think anyone would have a problem with that because you still have the deterrent factor out there because it's a random test."

Based in Kansas City, Mo., Drug Free Sport was created in 1999 by Frank Uryasz, who had been the director of sports sciences for the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Uryasz had developed the NCAA's drug testing program in the 1980s and his company has handled NCAA testing since 1999.

Drug Free Sport tests about 13,000 college athletes annually for the NCAA and has separate contracts with various leagues and about 200 colleges and universities around the country, spokesman Dan Regan has said.