December 2nd, 2011

Young athletes and energy drinks: A bad mix?

By Robyn Norwood

From youth playing fields to major league clubhouses, caffeinated energy drinks such as Red Bull and its scores of cousins have become a familiar presence in sports. But doctors and other experts increasingly warn of misunderstandings about energy drinks’ contents, lax labeling requirements and the risks of high doses of caffeine — particularly to young athletes.

Another issue raised by doctors and researchers is the marketing of energy drinks to young people, particularly through sponsorships of athletes and extreme sports.

New York’s Major League Soccer team is the Red Bulls, owned by the drink company. NASCAR driver Kyle Busch endorses the drink NOS, and Monster has a stable of lesser-known athletes, bands and celebrities.

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