Both scientists also question the use of energy drinks to enhance performance in young athletes. “It’s a big mistake to program kids so young to think that they can take drugs to perform at a higher level than they can naturally,” Goldberger says. He notes that even the International Olympic Committee declares caffeine illegal at certain levels.
Tell that to Garrett Ruhland, who observed that when some of the water polo players from his school went to the Junior Olympic trials, sponsors everywhere handed them energy drinks.
At home, Ruhland and his friends convinced their school board to ban the sale of caffeinated drinks in their Anaheim high school. “My major hope is to get these drinks banned from all schools in the United States,” he says.
— Allison J. Cleary