The Use Of Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports

Submitted By dinkster
Words: 1565
Pages: 7

Was there a time in your childhood when the backyard or bedroom felt like the biggest stage with millions of fans watching? Imagining the cameras flashing, fans screaming, and everyone was counting on you to win the game for your favorite team. You had one last chance to give the fans “watching” what they wanted to see, and every time you found yourself in this daydreamt situation you were always the hero. When athletes develop this sense of achievement, they use the success they imagined as a child to motivate them to achieve these goals in reality. Athletes develop this sense of competitiveness and will do whatever it takes to be the hero not only for their team, but also for personal achievement. Success and competition have brought a harmful strategy for both the athletes and the sports. Performance enhancing drugs, such as steroids and human growth hormone substances, have been used in athletics to do exactly what they imply: enhance performance. Performance enhancing drugs have become a norm in the world of sports, and it seems like the organizations and leagues are constantly letting their players get away with it. With sports being one of our greatest forms of entertainment in America, the use of performance enhancing drugs should be illegal and stricter forms of punishment should be taken in order to prevent the usage in the future. Performance enhancing drugs have been around for centuries. “Greek gladiators used strychnine as a stimulant to increase their ability. The Incas used coca plants for their soldiers to increase their alertness and endurance” (McCloskey 81). However, whether these drugs are being taken for energy or muscle building, they are still affecting the body in a very negative light. In time, these drugs damage the muscle tissue, which eventually causes athletes to be more prone to serious injuries. Steroids and human growth hormone substances may temporarily help an athlete’s performance, but they ultimately lead to dangerous side effects. Athletes may be striving for that competitive edge when using performance enhancing drugs, but they are also setting their bodies up for liver damage, clotting disorders, heart attack, strokes, weakened tendons, and many more life threatening results. One of the first known fatalities occurs of these performance enhancing drugs involved Lyle Alzado, a defensive lineman for the Denver Broncos. Alzado used natural growth hormones in order to be on top of his game. However, his body could not handle this drug, and a brain tumor formed. After fighting brain cancer for a few years, he passed away in 1992. In an interview for Sports Illustrated he said, “I started taking anabolic steroids in 1969 and never stopped. It was addicting, mentally addicting. Now I'm sick, and I'm scared. Ninety percent of the athletes I know are on the stuff. We're not born to be 300 lbs. or jump 30ft. But all the time I was taking steroids, I knew they were making me play better.” (Airoso). Like many, Alzado was blindsided by the dangerous effects the drugs had on his body and allowed the passion to succeed overrule his body’s health.
Although performance enhancing drugs have been around for a long time, they did not become an important concern until the late 1980’s. “Due to this increase of issues, the NFL started testing players for performance enhancing drugs in 1987, but decided against punishing players” (Airoso). Since punishment was not something to worry about, the amount of players taking part in performance enhancing drugs continued to increase. For baseball specifically, over 80% of players are thought to be on steroids. It is statistics like these that have caused the past five years of Major League Baseball to be considered the “Steroid Era”. Although studies continue to come out on the damages these drugs have on your bodies, athletes still are blindsided by the achievements and power they have when using them. Jose Conseco, a recently convicted steroid