15 November 2013
The Use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports
Football, Baseball, Weightlifting, Hockey, Speed Skating, Soccer, and Cycling…These sports and many more all vary in multiple ways, yet have also at least one similarity.
Performanceenhancing drugs continue to find their way into these and many other sports at all levels of competition ranging from Little League on up to professional sports and even to the
Olympics; but with these enhancements serious and sometimes fatal medical issues can be created. A professional athlete’s performance on the court, field, diamond, mat, or wherever the
sporting event may be taking place, should show a true depiction of the athlete’s ability. “If you look at competition historically, athletes have always tried everything they possibly can to get better than their competitors” (Livingston). Being better than the competitor should not be enhanced by steroids. By ‘juicing’ the athlete shows what he or she appears to be and not what they have worked hard to achieve for his or her body. College athletes are influenced by those athletes competing at the higher, professional level. Seeing professionals use the enhancing drugs, the college athletes believe they can perform like the pros if they take the steroids and that it is acceptable in doing so (Butterworth). The same trend would continue with the high school athletes looking to college athletes on down to the pee wee and little league age groups
(Acedemic Search Complete).
If some athletes at all levels choose to be enhanced medically, there is no even playing field. It has already been seen that athletes having used the drugs have hit more homeruns, lifted heavier weights, and won high level bike races. Mark McGuire hit the most homeruns in a single season before admitting to using performanceenhancing drugs in 1998 (Scott). Lance Armstrong even admitted that winning the Tour de France was not possible without doping and was stripped of all seven titles which he held (Associated Press). Lyle Alzado from the National Football
League started taking the steroids in college and never stopped during his professional career
(Puma). This leaves those that choose to compete with their true abilities at an extreme disadvantage. While making a stronger, more competitive athlete, performanceenhancing drugs
unnaturally build the body up. These unnatural abilities can be damaging and life threatening to the athlete. Muscles can degenerate after prolonged usage. The joints of the body can also become irritated and painful. Many of the steroids can cause fluid to build up. This excess fluid causes extra pain and strain on muscles as well as joints, including the heart causing heart disease. Another side effect of using the enhancing drugs is diabetes. Diabetes can be a lifelong illness and side effects from diabetes can cause death (Mayo Clinic Staff). Not only diabetes, but all of these medical conditions can eventually lead to death. “The risky side effects of performance enhancing drugs should be publicized” (Delta College). Lyle Alzado was diagnosed with brain cancer stemming from his admitted steroid use three months after being diagnosed and later dying from brain cancer (Puma). Knowing the side effects of these drugs, one would believe, professional athletes would choose to distance themselves from their use, as would athletes at any competitive level.
Steroid use makes the athlete stronger and more competitive. There may even be a time an athlete, such as Texas Rangers’ outfielder Nelson Cruz, needs to gain strength back before the season begins. Cruz was sick with helicobacter pylori from November, 2011 through January,
2012. During this illness his weight dropped 40 pounds. After being sick, Cruz chose to use a type of steroid to rapidly put his weight back on he had lost while ill.