Steroids in Sports
Decade after decade, sport scandals have come and gone. The topic of steroid use in sports continues to make the headlines more frequently. We hear about Olympic athletes that have been striped of their medals because they failed the drug testing. There are also the professional sports athletes who are caught and centered out for using steroids. Athletes believe that by taking steroids it will benefit their careers and launch them to the peak of their performance. What are the consequences for both the athlete and the sport? How does this affect the fans? Fans view steroid use as a major corruption in sports, as well as the athletes that use the drug.
During the last decade, many sports analysts debate the topic. Does the players’ statistics even matter anymore if players are cheating?
There may be a legitimate reason for steroid use. One example would be that the drug helps the athlete overcome personal injuries. Steroids help the repair process, by quickly repairing joint tissues allowing them to return to the game rapidly and to compete more competitively.
Steroids are especially popular with senior sport athletes. As one gets older, their skill level decreases and at the same time their bodies have a hard time keeping up with the younger players. By taking steroids, it helps these players maintain a strong physique, and to keep up with the sport endurance as it advances, which in turn will prolong their career. Taking steroids will shorten the player’s time of being sidelined through injury. The most popular reason behind the use of steroids is to achieve an all time goal surpassing past successors. Steroids will always be around in sports, as long as big pay checks and fame come along with athletes accomplishments. The athlete may think that it’s in their best interest at the time, but not for the fans who lookup to these athletes they call “heroes”.
Professional sports can have a huge impact on the human body as they are constantly pushing themselves to the limit and have a high chance of running into injuries and skeletal problems throughout the intense seasons. When players are hit with injury, it can seriously impact ones career, and also the performance of an entire team. As an athlete progressively uses steroids, their bodies will begin to react negatively to the unnatural change. “The researchers’ who conducted the survey also reported that the use of anabolic or androgenic steroids raises players risk of suffering joint, ligament and cartilage injuries throughout the body” (Reinberg, 1). Many times players are influenced by their trainers who will give their injured athletes steroids to speed up the rehabilitation process, to return them to the game. “In a survey that guaranteed confidentiality, 2,552 former pro football players answered questions on their use of performance- enhancing steroids and the musculoskeletal injuries they suffered during their playing years” (Reinberg, 1). For many NFL players take steroids, it allows them to compete through the though sixteen weeks that they face, and since football players are exposed to a high chance of injury, the use of steroids will help them battle any injury they in counter. In the long run these athletes do not realise the negative effects that will follow. “Guskiewicz speculated that the additional musculoskeletal injuries could have resulted from the increased weight of the muscle mass created by steroids, putting extra stress on joints that then wears down” (Reinberg, 1). As an athlete bulks up, they push their bodies beyond their limits and place too much stress on their joints.
As many sports legends reach the end of their careers, they take steroids to push their bodies so that they can prolong their career for a few more seasons. Also, up and coming stars also join in and take steroids as they want to prolong their future and the sport that they love to play, and to get to the next skill level.
In the MLB many stars such as Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire took steroids in the later stages of their careers as they wanted to continue to battle with the young stars, and to continue to climb to the top of the statistic charts. “It is easy to understand why Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens or Barry Bonds might use steroids, assuming they did. McGwire got hurt, turned 30, and his career was in jeopardy. He had to hit home runs to stay in the big leagues. He ended up hitting a lot of them” (Posnanki, 1). Many pro football players take steroids to compete harder. This is a disadvantage towards the older players, which ultimately force them to also take steroids to allow themselves to compete longer. “9.1 percent said they had used steroids, with the certain categories of players more likely to report using drugs. For example, 16.3 percent of offensive linemen admitted using steroids, as did 14.8 percent of defensive linemen” (Reinberg, 2). As everyone takes steroids it evens out the playing field between the younger and older athletes. Not only do the older athletes take steroids to compete longer, high school athletes also take steroids to jumpstart their careers and to make it to the next level of competition. “The nation’s largest steroid testing program caught only two Texas high school athletes taking unauthorized substances out of more than 10,000 students who were tested, according to results issued last week” (USA Today, 1). Athletes of all ages cheat and take steroids to allow them to compete longer in the sport that they would die for. To them it is a gift to play longer, but to many fans they see these older players as “washed up”.
The use of anabolic steroids is banned by all major sporting bodies, including the International Olympic Committee, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, World Wrestling Entertainment, TNA, ICC, ITF, FIFA, FINA, UEFA, the European Athletic Association, and the Brazilian Football Confederation. Anabolic steroids are controlled substances in many countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands (NL), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (U.S.), while in other countries, such as Mexico and Thailand, they are readily available over-the-counter for easy purchase. More and more athletes are being banned each year for the use of steroids, but why do they continue to use them when they know their careers are at risk? A lot of this has to do with poorly enforced regulations and the bending of the law when it comes to professional sports. The most common reasons why doping is banned from organizations are because it’s harmful to the athlete’s health, there is an unfair advantage to athletes who are doping when they are sized up to natural players, and finally steroid use conflicts with the spirit of the sport, which is to work for victory by exhibiting “natural” physical skills and quality of character. The substance is banned for all the right reasons, but the consequences for breaking the ban aren’t severe enough to scare athletes from using them. Steroids had been passed as a Federal crime in the 1990’s to stop the use of drugs promoted by role model athletes, “It was claimed that making non-medical steroid use a federal crime would accomplish this, but over the last 15 years, I can’t think of a single high- profile professional ballplayer who was ever arrested for possessing steroids” (Jendrick, 94). Even though possessing steroids is a Federal offence these athletes are being seen above the law, and receiving lesser punishments within the organization they are apart of. In order to completely abolish the chances of doping, these organizations would have to step up their punishments, by leaving it in the hands of the law to be properly prosecuted.
Throughout the years, in all types of sports and competitions, steroids have been present, creating degrading controversy that has destroyed the game for many fans. For the athletes, both young and old, who are taking steroids to overcome injuries and achieve personal goals, they soon realize the negative long term effect that it has on their bodies. Some health risks can be produced by long-term use or excessive doses of anabolic steroids. These effects include harmful changes in cholesterol levels, acne, high blood pressure, liver damage, and dangerous changes in the structure of the heart. A review in 2005 in CNS Drugs determined that “significant psychiatric symptoms including aggression and violence, mania, and less frequently psychosis and suicide have been associated with steroid abuse. Long-term steroid abusers may develop symptoms of dependence and withdrawal on discontinuation of AAS”. (this quote came from this website:Wikipedia put in the info)
In Conclusion there will always be athletes that take steroids. They will take the drug for various reasons, to break records, help their self esteem, use as a substitution for hard work, recover from injuries. Unfortunately it does not give them a good reputation and many organizations and fans view this as cheating. In my opinion Steroids will always be around in sports and competitions, unless serious steps are made by governing organizations to completely abolish the use of steroids in the sport and severe penalties are imposed. It’s unfortunate that this abuse of steroids is taking place, especially since many athletes are viewed as role models for many young children who aspire to someday become famous athletes.