Carlos Umana, 17, loves the game of basketball but if there is one thing he hates it is cheaters — especially those who use steroids.
That philosophy gave him an idea on how to reach his peers and discourage the use of performance-enhancing substances in sports.
His idea landed him the United States Anti-Doping Agency’s True Sports Award, earning the Boys & Girls Clubs of El Paso — Janacek Unit $2,000 to put his plan into effect at the National Keystone Conference on March 22-25 in Fort Bliss.
Umana will deliver a speech in front of hundreds of other teenagers before the start of a 3-on-3-basketball tournament.
“I want to spread the word of competing cleanly in sports,” said Umana, a junior at Mountain View High School. “When I get there, I’m going to stand up in front of all the other teams and tell everyone about the dangers of anabolic steroids and even energy drinks.”
The idea of steroid use has left a bad taste in Umana’s mouth as both an athlete and a fan.
“I don’t like cheating, and I don’t want to play against someone who is bigger than me just because they cheated and used steroids,” Umana said. “There are some athletes I looked up to and when I found out they used steroids, it was terrible.”
However, Umana found out that even legal substances can be dangerous. After seeing a friend go down because of an energy drink, Umana decided that there is no room for those drinks in sports.
“My friend would always drink an energy drink before football gamesÂ because he thought it gave him an extra boost,” Umana said. “He was holding his chest on the field after trying to make a tackle. He basically had a heart attack.”
His friend has since recovered, but that event scared Umana enough to take action.
His mom, Sylvia Maldonado, won the award in 2011 and told him to submit his idea to the Discovery Education and United States Anti-Doping Agency’s True Sport Award Program.
Umana’s proposal was then selected as one of 10 winning entries.
On top of the money for his club to put his plan into action, Umana also won $1,000 to spend on Discovery Education’s digital classroom services, a commemoration plaque, a pocket video camera and a $500 cash award.
Now all he has to do is stand up in front of a large group and give his speech. But just like in basketball, practice makes perfect.
“I have been practicing a couple of key points that I want to get across,” Umana said. “I have practiced in front of my Keystone group.”
He just hopes that when the time comes he won’t be nervous.
“I just want for the other participants to hear me and then spread the word to their friends,” Umana said. “Hopefully, they will never use steroids or even energy drinks. Because those things will kill you.”anabolic steroids > cheat > education > high school > sports > steroids