Continuing on with Part 1 of Hockey Training and Creatine it is important to note that the media jumped all over creatine as being responsible for the injuries these athletes had suffered and that the players most likely supplemented with creatine.

Subsequent interviews with many of the players revealed few, if any, of the injured players were determined to have been using creatine.

But how can this be? I mean the blood work showed high levels of creatine kinase, so isn’t a given the players were supplementing with creatine? Wouldn’t the players simply be denying taking any supplements at all for fear of penalty or suspension?

Well not necessarily. You see your body makes creatine on its own with precursors such as glycine, arginine and methionine. And when the energy from creatine is to be released during intense exercise, such as during football training camp, an enzyme is needed. This enzyme is creatine kinase. So we would expect high levels of creatine kinase in the blood work of these players.

So did the media jump the gun on blaming creatine for the hospitalization of these players? Probably.

Could the coach have gone a little overboard in his first training camp to try and set a tone? Hard to say. Not many of the media reports focussed on this question.

Were the elements and workouts too intense for the chronological, physiological and training age of the players? They probably were. If it’s true the room was as high as 120 farenheit then you’ll definitely have concern for heat exhaustion and heat stroke. As well, on a high school football team you’ll have young players who are physically mature and older players who aren’t. The workloads may have needed to be adjusted for these differences.

The take home message from this situation is this:

* You don’t get in shape in training camp. You come to training camp in shape.

* Nobody gets tougher or a better workout from extreme conditions of heat.

* The younger the age of the athletes involved on a team the more potential for disparity in abilities, sizes, strength and fitness levels there may be. ‘One size fits all’ workouts will underwhelm some and potentially injure others.

* If sports supplements are to be used it should be in conjunction with a solid nutrition and hydration plan. They are not to replace whole foods and as a means to skip a step.

* Base your decision making process on the people who perform the research. Not the ones looking to sell a subscription.

Below is an excerpt of the International Society of Sport Nutrition (ISSN) position statement on creatine. For more information visit the ISSN website.


After extensive review of the literature, the ISSN adopted the following positions relative to this issue:

Creatine monohydrate is the most effective ergogenic nutritional supplement currently available to athletes in terms of increasing high-intensity exercise capacity and lean body mass during training.

  1. Creatine monohydrate supplementation is not only safe, but possibly beneficial in regard to preventing injury and/or management of select medical conditions when taken within recommended guidelines.
  2. There is no scientific evidence that the short- or long-term use of creatine monohydrate has any detrimental effects on otherwise healthy individuals.
  3. If proper precautions and supervision are provided, supplementation in young athletes is acceptable and may provide a nutritional alternative to potentially dangerous anabolic drugs.
  4. At present, creatine monohydrate is the most extensively studied and clinically effective form of creatine for use in nutritional supplements in terms of muscle uptake and ability to increase high-intensity exercise capacity.
  5. Creatine monohydrate has been reported to have a number of potentially beneficial uses in several clinical populations, and further research is warranted in these areas.

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