Professor Gregory Hazleton
WRC 1023 Section 060
27 March 2015
Effects of Steroids Throughout Sports The “Elixir of Life”, a potion created by Charles Brown-Sequard, was the earliest known performance-enhancing drug in American Sports and was made with some sort of animal testicle. Pud Galvin of the Pittsburgh Alleghanys, a baseball team in the late 1800’s, used the elixir and won the following game. This win was cited as early evidence of the elixir’s power. The first scientifically proven occurrence of doping was in a Austrian horse race in 1910, but the aversion to doping in sports didn’t appear in the U.S. until the mid-1900’s when soldiers were given amphetamines to help in combat. Not only did amphetamines become popular in individual sports, but by the 1960’s, they became “commonplace in locker rooms of American team sports” (Moore 2014). The use of performance enhancing drugs is no longer limited to a particular sport, gender or age of athlete, and is becoming increasingly common. There are numerous side effects resulting from their use, which may have long lasting physiological, psychological, and ethical impacts. In addition, there is a moral aspect associated with this issue in that sports are intended to foster a fair and cooperative mentality. If performance-enhancing drugs were to be legalized throughout competitive sports, players would suffer because of the unfair competitive edge, medical risks and moral implications associated with their use.
Even though many are prescription drugs, some steroids are found in supplements that can be purchased over the counter, and are popular among high school athletes (Schmidt 2009). According to the Nationwide Children’s Hospital, it has been reported that nearly 5% of adolescent athletes use performance-enhancing drugs (Abuse of Drugs 2015). For the most part, steroid use has been banned from all sports, with consequences attached for discovery of their use. Professional sports are riddled with athletes who have been caught using banned substances. Alex Rodriguez, a professional baseball player, and 7 time Tour de France winner, Lance Armstrong are merely two examples of users, who were huge role models before their drug use was discovered (CNN 2014). Marion Jones, a United States world women’s champion track and field athlete, and former professional basketball player, was stripped of titles she earned in the 2000 Olympics, after she admitted to steroid use. Marta Bastianelli, World Champion female road cyclist, and Olympic swimmer Michelle Smith are examples of two more women from two other sports, who also used these drugs (On 2012). These athletes have an obligation as role models to their fans who emulate their training regimens and work-outs and their style of play. These fans choose their jersey numbers and watch their every move. When their favorite athlete admits to using steroids, the message their fans hear is that it gives them permission to do the same (Abuse of Drugs 2015). There are special dangers to adolescents who use steroids. They can close off the growth plates in children’s bones and prematurely stop growth (Wadler 2010).
There are many types of steroids. Anabolic-androgen steroids or simply anabolic steroids, increase muscle mass and strength. The body produces an anabolic steroid hormone called testosterone. Anabolic steroids can be found in some over the counter supplements. These substances come with several serious physical side effects, which effect both men and women. Men may develop enlarged breasts, experience balding, shrunken testicles, infertility and impotence. Women sometimes suffer a deeper voice, increased body hair, baldness, and changes in menses. Both men and women can suffer from severe acne, tendonitis, liver problems, elevated bad or decreased good cholesterol, and heart problems. In addition to physiological problems, steroid use can also cause psychiatric disorders such as depression,