Term Paper: Steroid Use in Sports

Pages: 8 (2317 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports  ·  Buy This Paper

¶ … steroids in sports. The author works to explore the topic and brings to light several cases in which it has been a problem. Steroid use in sports is not just a problem in the professional circuit, but has crept its way into high schools and colleges across the nation. The author explores the use of steroids in that environment as well and suggests solutions to the problem.

Children across the nation are conditioned their entire lives to want to excel in sports. Watching their parents watch them from the stands encourage children to try even harder the next time. They hear their parents brag about their last game over dinner, or at a party and they learn that excelling at sports gets their attention. As they get older the schools provide the same message. Letter jackets, and other perks are provided to those excel in the sports world. Those who are good at a sport are usually popular and given privileges that others are not provided. All of this conditions individuals to want to be the best no matter what it takes.

One of the recent problems that has moved to the forefront in the world of sports is the use of steroids. Steroid use is becoming a problem nationwide and at the school age level as well as the professional level (Sports, 2005).

The American Academy of Pediatrics is right when it says that schools, coaches and parents should take a stand against the problem of steroid use in kids (Sports, 2005). "

One recent research study concluded that children are raised to believe that winning is everything. The children watch the parents arguing on the field and believe that as long they win mom and dad will be happy. They are conditioned by coaches who yell when they lose and smile when they win and they are conditioned by media that puts professional athletes on a pedestal. Winning becomes everything and they soon become willing to use steroids to accomplish winning.

Not only does such a climate injure kids emotionally and physically, it can also lead to the perception that steroid use is acceptable if winning is the goal (Sports, 2005)."

Why it is happening

Children, teens and adults are under a tremendous amount of pressure to succeed. They are having unrealistic expectations placed on them to perform. Scholarships and other perks are held in front of them like carrots and they are lead to believe their lives revolve around their ability to win on the field.

The results are significant even at the high school level for steroid use.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 7% of ninth-graders have used steroids that weren't prescribed to them. That statistic itself should be enough to shake some sense into parents, coaches and school officials.

Today's professional sports climate does little to help the situation. Kids see these athletes as role models, and when they see them using steroids, they perceive it as an endorsement (Sports, 2005)."

Doctors here see the use of anabolic steroids to enhance athletic performance as just another form of drug abuse (Jackson, 2005).

That's because using steroids to improve performance is illegal. But more than that, people who use them may be putting themselves in danger.

Steroids are medicines synthesized to perform like human hormones -- mostly testosterone and to a lesser extent human growth hormone. Anabolic steroids are man-made hormones; one of their uses is to promote tissue growth, especially muscle tissue (Jackson, 2005). "

Large amounts of steroid in children can put them at risk for health issues that will be permanent.

Large doses of steroids have a clear effect on young people (those who have not stopped growing) by telling their bodies that they're in a different stage of growth than they are (Jackson, 2005).

So certain body parts -- especially muscles and skeletons -- take off in a new direction of growth (Jackson, 2005). "

Steroid use in adults have caused aggression, heart disease, liver damage, joint damage and depression issues. Some of the depression has caused suicide.

There's a lot of harm being done, because kids are taking large doses of things, and they have no idea what they're taking," Griffing said. "Someone comes into the locker room with a needle full of stuff, and you have no idea what's in that needle and where it comes from (Jackson, 2005)."

Experts believe and have testified that steroid use in the major leagues is teaching children that it is okay to do.

What I get concerned about is professionals using it and kids idolizing the professionals, and that's where you get into trouble," says Dr. Cameron Olson, associate professor of family medicine at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine in Springfield (Jackson, 2005)."

Tracking steroid use in young athletes is difficult because the students have to admit to using illegal drugs. So far, the most accurate statistic seems to be from the federal government.

The head of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency testified that a 2003 study of 48,500 students in three grades showed that 2.5% of eighth-graders have used steroids, 3% of 10th-graders and 3.5% of 12th-graders. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported a 20% jump in use among boys and 300% among girls between 2001 and 2003. So while there is an argument that an adult who wants to risk 20 years of life for a multimillion-dollar sports contract has a right to do so, doctors who are on the front line of medicine stress that such cheating can distort kids' perceptions of athletes (Jackson, 2005)."

Youngsters who look up to professional athletes don't always understand the risks of using illegal steroids in sports. They include:

Liver disease -- Massive doses of the pill form can wreck the liver (Jackson, 2005).

Psychological effects -- Aggression can become steroid rage and result in violence; depression can be severe enough to bring about suicidal thoughts (Jackson, 2005).

Heart disease and stroke -- Steroid use in larger doses increases the amount of bad cholesterol and decreases the amount of good cholesterol in the bloodstream, putting a user at risk for heart attack and stroke (Jackson, 2005).

Infection -- Steroids can weaken the immune system and put a user at risk of contagious diseases. With injectable steroids, sharing dirty needles puts users in danger of contracting hepatitis B and C. And HIV. Some steroids increase libido, and aggression increases risky behavior, leading to a dangerous combination (Jackson, 2005).

Cancer -- Steroids can increase the risk of cancer later in life (Jackson, 2005). "

While steroids do bulk up size and weight on a person there is little evidence that it improves performance in the way of speed or endurance.

The speculation is that the placebo effect makes athletes work harder, and that accounts for increased performance (Jackson, 2005)."

Student steroid use for sports enhancement is a national problem at this point. There are several signs that a student athlete is using illegal steroids that include:

Unexplained aggressive behavior, erratic mood swings, irrational behavior, irritability, depression, signs of drug dependency and "steroid rage" that occurs with very high doses (Jackson, 2005).

Increased acne (Jackson, 2005).

Jaundice; it indicates liver dysfunction and usually occurs with oral anabolic steroids (Jackson, 2005).

Stunted growth, especially if the steroids were used at a young age. Increased hormones signal to the body that it's time to stop growing. This danger can persist into the 20s (Jackson, 2005).

Tendonitis and joint injuries. In young people approaching or going through puberty, the steroids are telling their bodies to stop growing, which can lead to painful side effects (Jackson, 2005)."

To address the problem of illegal steroid use at any age, will take a major shift in attitude about sports, success and what is acceptable to do to win.

The government is addressing the subject by holding Congressional hearings about it. In March congress heard from a panel of baseball players and executives in the field on the question of steroid use.

During 11 hours of testimony, superstars testified about steroid use. Jose Canseco, a former most valuable player, has admitted to using the drugs. He warned that baseball has "a major problem." Rafael Palmeiro of the Texas Rangers and Sammy Sosa of the Baltimore Orioles flatly denied taking steroids. Home-run king Mark McGwire refused to say under oath whether he had taken the drugs (McGowan, 2005)."

Currently the punishments for steroid use are lenient by expert standards. A professional baseball player has to be caught four times before anything serious happens to him. The first infraction can get a 10 day suspension, while subsequent uses can get up to a quarter of as season on the bench. This sends the message to young sports enthusiasts that the use of illegal steroids is not that big of an issue.

One of the first things that needs to be done to stop the use of steroids is to change the public perception of winning and the importance… [END OF PREVIEW]

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