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Another drug which has this effect (suppression of feelings of hunger and fatigue) is cocaine, which was used by the ancient Incas to keep their mine slaves working long and arduously with little food. Peruvian Indians chew the coca leaf for the same purpose today. Dexedrine sulphate is not habit forming, as cocaine is, and cocaine in turn, though habit forming, does not lead to true addiction, in the sense that heroin and morphine do.
Tennis players commonly take caffeine, usually in the form of tea or coffee, to sustain them during long, hard matches. One doctor gives massive doses of vitamin B-12 to a prominent welterweight boxer a few days before each match but other doctors say there is no reason to suppose the vitamin has more than a psychological effect.
Coach Taylor's use of "pep-up pills" to give his athletes stamina, real or spurious, was by no means unusual. They have been used by coaches and trainers in football, both college and professional, and are quite commonly employed in basketball. But a nervous breakdown suffered by a former Ashland basketball player after he enrolled at Ohio Wesleyan University this fall upset the Ashland school board. There was no evidence that the breakdown was more than coincidence and Coach Taylor protested that four doctors had assured him that dexedrine sulphate would have no harmful effect on his players. Other Ashland players could recall no ill effects from the pills, though some said they found it difficult to sleep after games. This symptom, however, could have been a natural reaction from the excitement of the game.
Amid general agreement of physicians that the pills are physically harmless, one doctor raised a question:
Should young players be taught to believe that victory is so precious it is worth the use of artificial stimulants to achieve it?
This, in turn, raised other questions, like:
Are artificial stimulants cricket? Is tea, commonly consumed with meals, an artificial stimulant when taken between sets at a tennis match? Would caffeine pills, obtainable at drugstores without prescription, be considered an artificial stimulant? Where should athletes and coaches draw the line, if any, between tea and cocaine? At dexedrine sulphate, perhaps? Would it be all right for a runner with a sore ankle to take a shot of novocain before an event, even though many consider it dirty pool, and it is actually illegal, when this is done for lame horses? (Track law says that only physically fit horses may run.) What about those Japanese swimmers? What about the fact that it has been suggested that American swimmers use oxygen when they compete at the Pan-American games in Mexico this year?
Of Jockey Arcaro