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US Congress to Hold Special Hearing on Baseball Steroid Use

In Washington, the U.S. House of Representatives holds a special hearing Thursday, on the use of steroids in sports. Several professional baseball players were subpoenaed and will answer questions about the issue. Congress is interested in these baseball players because they are role models, and what they do has an impact on American teenagers. The government says that a million teenagers have tried steroids, drugs that enhance athletic performance.

Callahan Kuhns was 17 when he started taking steroids with his friend Taylor Hooten. They learned what so many high school students already know. Steroids work.

"We wanted the results and we wanted them fast. We didn't want to have to work out for 10 years taking protein, the long-term stuff. We wanted to be big before the next season came up," says Callahan Kuhns.

Within weeks, he gained 32 pounds. His bench press increased by more than 60 pounds.

"It was rapid weight gain. I looked like a marshmallow," says Callahan.

But steroids have serious side effects: terrible acne, heart disease, liver tumors, and depression. For teenagers they are especially dangerous.

Dr. Gary Wadler of New York University's medical school says, "It will fool your body into thinking that you've completed adolescence and you will stop growing...and you will never reach your genetic potential."

But Callahan says teenagers don't see that. They see bodybuilders with perfect physiques and baseball players making millions of dollars.

"People look at that and say geez, he doesn't look like he is having health problems, and he is knocking the ball out of the park every day," says Callahan Kuhns.

USA Today sports reporter Mel Antonen says steroids abuse in America has become an epidemic.

"I think that we are so stuck in American society on fame and fortune and being the best that we've forgetten about integrity and character of the game. "Whether it's baseball, olympics, football, hockey, college sports. It's something that's got to be stopped and the big question is can it be stopped,” says Mel Antonen.

Very few high schools in the United States are doing anything about steroid abuse.

Polk County, Florida is one of the few school districts in the country that randomly tests student athletes for steroids. Audrey Kelly-Fritz works with Polk's students.

"We'd like to send a message that says, 'if you are using steroids stop! And if you aren't don't start!" says Audrey.

Callahan Kuhns says if his High School had tested, he might not have taken steroids in the first place.

Callahan did stop taking steroids, when his friend Taylor Hooten, who had been using steroids with him, committed suicide.