Ten Wisconsin high school football players were temporarily suspended after consuming an over-the-counter energy drink, The Chippewa Herald reports.
The drink, called C4 Extreme and purchased by the Menomonie High School athletes at a nutrition store, contained Synephrine HCL. The substance is a performance enhancer banned by the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association, Yahoo! reports.
The athletes are banned from playing in the first three games of next fall's season.
The students said they were unaware the substance was banned and they did not attempt to conceal from coaches that they were consuming the drink, according to the Superior Telegram. They were caught after broadcasting on Twitter that they had taken the substance, and "all stepped forward and were accountable for their actions," according to WEAU.
“I feel for them,” Director of Menomonie High School Activities Bart Boettcher told the Herald. But he added, “when it happens, we’re going to enforce the code. There’s no hiding or getting around it.”
C4 Extreme is advertised as "the most explosive pre-workout intensifier" and contains creatine nitrate.
Creatine is a workout supplement commonly consumed by high school, college and professional athletes. A 2002 study conducted by the University of Wisconsin Hospital Sports Medicine Center found that 25 percent of male high school athletes in Wisconsin reported using the supplement.
Creatine, though not a steroid, can still be unsafe if taken improperly. In a widely-publicized 2010 case, 24 McMinnville High School football players in Oregon were hospitalized after suddenly succumbing to severe swelling and cramping that in three cases necessitated surgery. Experts speculated whether creatine supplements were a factor in the hospitalizations.
The Oregon athletes were treated for "compartment syndrome." Authorities say the condition may have been brought on by high levels of heat, dehydration, and creatine kinase in their bodies.