Wednesday 28 September 2016

Warning to young athletes after cyclists using caffeine supplements fall ill

Published 06/05/2016 | 07:45

Cycling Ireland issued warning to young cyclists on its website
Cycling Ireland issued warning to young cyclists on its website

CYCLING Ireland has warned all junior cyclists not to take caffeinated substances after two young athletes fell ill at a weekend race

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In a statement, released on its website yesterday, the cycling body said caffeine consumption can cause increased heart rate and an alteration of fine motor control.

It issued the warning after "serious incidents" where two cyclists took ill at an event in Cork last weekend.

The competitors, in the 14 and an under 16 categories, became unwell with one requiring hospital treatment at the event.

Both have made a recovery but concerns about the welfare of other athletes sparked Cycling Ireland to issue the release on its website yesterday.

The governing body advised youths against the “inappropriate consumption of caffeinated substances”  and also warned promoters not to give caffeine products as prizes.

The statement continued: “Caffeine is widely used by the majority of the adult population in various foods and drinks, along with being available in a wide range of sports gels, drinks, powders and in over the counter tablets or capsules.

“While it can be effective in enhancing sports performance in trained athletes at moderate doses, ‘Caffeine Supplementation should not be used as an ergogenic aid in athletes under the age of 18’ according to the Institute of Sport.”

The statement continued: “While there are a range of performance benefits for adult athletes across many sports in caffeine consumption, there are very serious concerns that are particularly relevant in relation to younger athletes, such as an increased heart rate, an alteration of fine motor control and over-arousal which can have a negative impact on race preparation, recovery and sleep.

“Cycling Ireland would like to emphasise that caffeine supplements should not be used by riders under the age of 18, and should not be included as part of a prize for youth or junior cyclists by race promoters.”

Parents at the event where the two young athletes fell ill described it as “very scary”.

The incident is now likely to spark debate about the use of caffeine as a stimulant amongst junior athletes.

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