Usage and perceived benefits of Anabolic steroids for Increased Sports Performance
Introduction and Literature Review:
Since the beginning of sports, athletes have found ways to enhance their performance to gain a competitive advantage over their competitors. Records indicated that as early as 77l BC athletes have been attempting to use substances to enhance their performance. The Greek Olympians ingested various substances such as dried figs, mushrooms, sheep testicles and strychnine to improve their performance (Calfee and Fadale, 2006). Through the years these performance-enhancing drugs gained its acceptance and became a feasible solution for many athletes who wanted to achieve personal goals. In the past three decades, steroids have become a serious problem, more than ever in the athletic field. It is reported that over 3 million athletes and bodybuilders alone have used anabolic steroids. Eventually anabolic steroids extended its reach to high school athletes by 1959 (Calfee and Fadale, 2006). The definition of “Anabolic Steroids” includes any synthetic substance that mimics the male sex hormone testosterone and all other substances listed in the Anabolic Steroid Control Act of 2004 (Calfee and Fadale, 2006). Since the 1980’s studies show increasing number of adolescent athletes resort to supplementation to enhance their athletic performance. Today studies indicate between 1-3 million American adolescent have either experimented with anabolic steroids in the past or are currently using them Evan, 2004; Faigenbaum et al., 1998; DuRant et al., 1995). Anabolic steroid use by adolescent athletes is regrettably poorly understood and is limited to small number of studies. Recent evidence suggests that steroid use has extended to children as young as 10 years old (Evans, 2004; Faigenbaum et al., 1998; Gaa et al., 1994; Calfee and Fadale, 2006; Stilger and Yesalis, 1999; Yesalis and Bahrke, 2000). Children at younger ages are continually scouted by coaches in schools and placed under the media spotlight, which adds pressure to excel in their performance. Studies show that anabolic steroid use among high school athletes and even non-athletes have been growing in popularity and athletes at even younger ages are experimenting with their usage (Evans, 2004; Faigenbaum et al., 1998; Gaa et al. 1994; Calfee and Fadale, 2006; Stilger and Yesalis, 1999; Yesalis and Bahrke, 2000). Among young athletes evidence indicated that high school football players and wrestlers have reported higher rates of anabolic steroid use than any other sporting group (Evans, 2004; Faigenbaum et al., 1998; Gaa et al. 1994; Calfee and Fadale, 2006; Stilger and Yesalis, 1999; Yesalis and Bahrke, 2000). Statistics show that anabolic steroid use peaks in early teens aging 11 to 14 (Faigenbaum et al., 1998;, Stilger and Yesalis, 1999; Gaa et al., 1994). It is often difficult to convince adolescents of the real dangers associated with anabolic steroids due to the lack of scientific evidence to show the possible long-term effects. A notion that is driven into these athletes’ heads are that usage of steroids will give them a competitive edge. Committee on Sports Medicine and Fitness (1997) lists the desirable effects adolescents associated with anabolic steroids as being: increased muscle mass, increased strength, increasing ones appearance decreased recovery time, increased aggression, promote healing of injuries, maintaining the same ‘advantage’ as one’s opponent and for obtaining a competitive edge. Steroids are proven to increase both power and strength and decrease recovery time needed between heavy workouts but the fact that it does not make your better athlete is often overlooked. The potential dangers associated with steroids include increased acne, gynecomastia, testicular atrophy, toxic effects on the liver and kidneys, and negative effects to the cardiovascular system and for females additional risks such as deepening of voice, clitoris...
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