Objective: To describe creatine supplementation patterns and behaviors associated with creatine supplementation in high school football players.
Design: A cross-sectional, multisite, anonymous, descriptive survey was conducted between October 1999 and February 2000.
Setting: 37 public high schools in Wisconsin.
Subjects: A total of 1,349 high school football players, grades 9-12.
Main outcome measures: Self-reported prevalence of creatine use, as well as perceived benefits and risks. In addition, sources of information and influence regarding creatine supplementation were assessed.
Results: 30% of the respondents reported using creatine. Creatine use was lowest in the 9th grade (10.4%) and highest in the 12th grade (50.5%). 41% of the players at small schools stated they used creatine compared with 29% of the players in large schools. Enhanced recovery following a workout was the most likely perceived benefit of creatine supplementation, while dehydration was cited most often as a risk of creatine use. Users were encouraged to take creatine most often by their friends while their parents discouraged creatine use.
Conclusions: Creatine use is widespread in high school football players. High school football players who use creatine may not be aware of the risks and benefits associated with creatine supplementation. Sports medicine professionals who work with this population need to educate athletes, coaches, and parents about the use of creatine as a performance-enhancing supplement.