by Tashun Chism
Ex-NFL player Randall Wilde knows all about the dangers of steroids.
"I remember waking up in the middle of the night sometimes, even when I was playing college football, with nosebleeds," Wilde said.
The 80's were full of pro football players who used steroids, and Wilde was one of them. It took a life-changing trip to the emergency room to help him kick the habit.
"I just kind of looked up and said, 'Lord, give me one more chance.' I thought I was dying. It literally felt like a piano on my chest. That changed my mind," he told us.
Wilde is now a strength and conditioning trainer at Livewell Athletic Club in Lufkin. He uses his bad experience with steroids to teach others the right way to get in shape. But not everyone listens.
Bryan Compton, General Manager of Livewell, said, "In the club sometimes we'll see people who have dramatic changes over the course of a very short period of time and sometimes we'll suspect that there are certain individuals who are using performance enhancers."
"When somebody comes in and they have a very average look and in three to six months they've bulked up real big, the only way they can do it that fast is with steroids," agreed Livewell President/Executive Director Grady Lowery.
No one has actually been caught with performance enhancing drugs at livewell. Anyone caught would have their membership automatically cancelled. Lufkin ISD officals have been testing student athletes for 2 years. So far they haven't caught anyone using steroids either.
"Not that we've had a great suspicion that our kids were using steroids. Once again it's a preventative measure that gives our kids reason not to," said Lufkin ISD Superintendent Roy Knight.
Of course getting in shape and building muscle takes longer, but it can actually add years to your life instead of shorten it like steroids and many other performance enhancers do
"From an athletic standpoint, what they're looking for is a 5 to 10 year span where they can be extremely productive in their career. But at what cost? If you have 5 to 10 years where you're actually improving your performance but it's taking 20 years off of the end of your life, is that really worth it?" asked Compton.
Randall Wilde and other Livewell employees say no. They hope they can encourage as many East Texans as possible to stay away from steroids and other dangerous perfromance enhancers.