The use of Performance enhancing drugs in today’s sports world has become a bigger problem then ever before. May young athletes are turning to these drugs to give themselves and advantage over other athletes. The use of anabolic steroids by professional athletes will often lead these young athletes to use and not feel that it’s a dangerous problem. In this essay I will present facts that show steroids should not only be band as they currently are, but are causing an ever growing amount of our youth athletes to use these drugs. This should not and will not be tolerated in the world of sports
There is to much steroid use by the young athletes.
Jimmy is a freshman in high school. He could be at any high school in America. Young Jimmy is also has aspirations to be a professional football player, but he is on the small side for the position he would like to play. This young man also has pressure from his parents to succeed at sports, because his father and brother both played semi-pro football in years past. Feeling the weight of this pressure Jimmy turns to his friends for advice. This is how he starts to “juice”, or begin using anabolic steroids. He truly believes that this will help him meet the expectations of not only himself, but his family. Jimmy also doesn’t see much harm in having that extra edge since “all the big boys do it”. Now this is just a hypothetical scenario that could and does happen every day in any give school, gym, or playing field across America. Many of these athletes believe that using performance-enhancing drugs will give them that extra edge in winning, or turning pro, but they do not understand the heath risk that can arise from using these steroids. The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) says: Using anabolic steroids can lead to many mental and physical heath problems with prolonged use; Including increased aggressiveness or “Roid Rage”, Feelings of euphoria and invincibility in some individuals; and in others delusions and paranoia, depression, and suicide.
Heath problems include damage to the liver cells that results in elevated markers of liver damage (enzymes, bilirubin) in the blood. Fortunately, this damage is usually reversible when you stop taking the anabolic steroid. In some people, a rare condition called Peliosis hepaticus (blood-filled cysts in the liver) develops. The condition is usually reversible if the use of steroids ceases and medical treatment is sought. In an unlucky few, liver tumors and cancer can be the result of taking anabolic steroids. And liver cancer is almost always fatal. Along with the effects on the liver, the use of anabolic steroids results in changes in the blood lipids to a pattern associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The body's normal production of testosterone can stop. The testes generally shrink and sperm production is diminished. In some individuals, total lack of sperm results in infertility, and in a few individuals, this infertility is permanent. Some anabolic steroids are converted into estrogens in the body, which can result in the permanent development of breast tissue in men. There is concern that abuse of anabolic steroids could result in prostate disease, but no well-controlled studies have been conducted to either prove or disprove this. (http://www.usantidoping.org/athletes/cheating_health.html)
The situation can be just as bad with women. Many women that take steroids can often develop hair on their stomachs and backs, ceasing of breast tissue development, baldness, serious disruption of menstrual cycles and many of the heath risk that most men can face. Anabolic steroids are a risk that just does not add up.
Steroid use is on the rise.
According to a study conducted by the University of Michigan for the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2004 3.4 percent of all high school seniors admitted to using steroids (E. Crane, July 2005). Let us put that into perspective. The Associated Press as cited by http://www.espn.com that in the 2004-2005 school year there were over seven (7) million high school athletes in the United States, almost 680,000 athletes in California schools alone. Let’s take a look at that figure, if 3 percent of 7 million are using steroids, which are way too many students; there would be over 200,000 students would be using some type of anabolic steroid. The other pressing issue that causes much concern is that too many of these athletes do not see a problem with the use of these testosterone derivative drugs. The University of Michigan estimates that in 1999 only 62 percent of the 50,000 students questioned saw the use of steroids as a problem. Why is there so many students not seeing a problem with steroids? It is because the “big boys” are using them. Many of these athletes are using to get themselves an edge in there quest to become a pro athlete. There is a very small chance of any of these 7 million players becoming a professional. The U.S. Department of Labor states that in 2004 there were 17,000 professional athletes in the US. So we have over 7 million people and 17,000 jobs. Steroid use to get ahead just looks more and more silly.
More Professional Athletes are coming out about steroid use. The 2002 investigation into BALCO brought to light what many have speculated for a long time. More athletes in professional sports were using performance-enhancing drugs. I believe this had a profound impact on youth athletics as well as pro-sports. Many young athletes may have begun to believe that using steroids was o.k. since their idol was using. The athletes like Jose Canseco, Ken Gaminiti, and Bill Romanawski admitted to drug; use while David Wells also started saying that steroid use in Major League Baseball was rampant. He stated to Sports Illustrated that he suspected some 25% to 40% of the athletes in Major League Baseball use some type of anabolic steroid. If those numbers hold true, there are way to many athletes setting a bad example for our youth.
What do we do when our role models fail
I believe when professional athletes are found to be using drugs, it sends the wrong message to young athletes. Many athletes look up to these professionals as idols or role models. When your role model can not make the right decisions about drug use, what effect will that have on the child looking up to these athletes. Many schools do currently offer programs to try and denture drug use. Testing rules have also gotten stricter. In 2002 Major League Baseball started using more stringent testing requirements, but is that really enough. We need to instill in our youth athletes early that drug use can not and will not be tolerated to succeeded at eliminating this physical and mental heath threat. Extend the current programs to middle school and little league type of organizations. Get them early and you will go a long way to eliminating the problem.
Crane, Elizabeth (July 2005). Roid Rage. District Administration, Vol. 41 Issue 7, p32-37, 6p, 1c. Kindred, Dave (July 2005). Ask a tough question, get a tough answer: What can steroids do to you? Sporting News, 7/12/2004, Vol. 228 Issue 28, p68-68, 1p, 1c Staudohar, Paul D. (Summer 2005). Performance Enhancing Drugs in Baseball. Labor Law Journal, Summer2005, Vol. 56 Issue 2, p139-149, 11p Steroids: Just the Facts, Please. (n.d.). Retrieved April 26, 2006, from http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/steroids.htm
Colgan, Michael (2001) Steroids and Heart Disease Colgan Chronicles; 2001, Vol. 4 Issue 5, p1, 4p Cheating Your Heath (n.d.) retrieved on May 12, 2006, from http://www.usantidoping.org/athletes/cheating_health.html Record 7 million high schoolers participate in sports (September 13th 2005) Retrieved May 13, 2006 from http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/news/story?id=2160733 Steroid-User Jose Canseco names names (February 13, 2005) Retrieved May 13, 2005 http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/02/10/60minutes/main673138.shtml