Virginia High School League

Young athletes may not know risks of energy drinks

Mike Gimbel travels around Baltimore with a cache of energy drinks, everything from Red Bull to Monster to 5-Hour Energy shots.

When he talks to teenage athletes, the Towson-based substance abuse expert uses his display to help them understand what they consume when downing an energy drink before practice. Sure, they get the caffeine and the sugar that provide the boost they're looking for, but Gimbel said the athletes — and their parents — would be surprised to discover what else is on the label.

"The real problem here is that the energy drinks contain a lot more dangerous ingredients than just caffeine. That's what people don't understand," said Gimbel,...