Athlete told pills were amino acid, protein
GONZALES — A Donaldsonville High School teacher and coach was arrested Tuesday after admitting to detectives he gave steroids to a 16-year-old student athlete, said Chief Deputy Tony Bacala, of the Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Curtis Tsuruda, 56, served as a physical education teacher and a strength and conditioning coach at the high school since August.
Narcotics detectives with the Sheriff’s Office began investigating on Friday after receiving information that a coach had given steroids to a student athlete, telling the student the pills were amino acid/protein pills to help him perform better in sports, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
During the investigation, Tsuruda confessed to detectives he knew he had given the student methandienone steroids, the Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.
Methandienone is an anabolic steroid, which is a synthetically produced variant of the naturally occurring male hormone testosterone, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency’s website.
The composition of the steroids was confirmed by the State Police Crime Lab.
“The coach had been giving the student these pills for a week or two,” with the student believing they were amino acid protein pills, Bacala said.
The student’s parents noticed some mood changes in their child, Bacala said, and found out the coach had given him some pills.
He said the parents “went directly to the school and the school contacted us.”
The Sheriff’s Office had no information that Tsuruda gave steroids to any other students, Bacala said.
A search of Tsuruda’s home in St. John the Baptist Parish by detectives turned up additional steroids, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Tsuruda has been placed on administrative leave by the Ascension Parish school system, Superintendent Patrice Pujol said.
“We are aggressively pursuing human resource processes to assure that the appropriate actions are taken in regards to this situation,” she said.
Tsuruda, 112 Derek Lane, LaPlace, was booked into the Ascension Parish Jail on counts of distribution of a Schedule III controlled dangerous substance, distribution to a student, violation of the controlled dangerous substance school zone law and contributing to the delinquency of a juvenile.
Tsuruda is awaiting bail to be set, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
Tsuruda came to LSU from the University of Hawaii, where he worked two years as the head strength coordinator, said Michael Bonnette, LSU’s sports information director, on Tuesday.
He arrived at LSU in 1997 as an assistant coordinator of strength and conditioning, Bonnette said.
From LSU, Tsuruda went in 2001 to Tulane University, where he moved up from assistant strength and conditioning coach to director of strength and conditioning, a position he apparently held for at least three years, according to the university’s official athletic site.
Tsuruda has an undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii and a master’s degree from Northeast Louisiana University, now the University of Louisiana at Monroe, Bonnette said.