Anabolic steroid is a performance enhancing drug which is increasingly being used by athletes. Steroids have the inherent qualities to improve strength and boost physical endurance, thereby giving the athletes an edge over their competitors in today’s extremely competitive and lucrative profession of sports. Besides harming the athletes in the long run, taking steroids sets a bad example too, on budding athletes and the youngsters who make the athletes and sportsmen their role models (Yesalis 38)
Generally, steroids are transformed into testosterone, which is a male growth hormone. The ill-effects of steroids are numerous. Since taking steroids eventually alters the natural balance of testosterone levels in the blood. As such, these effects can remain for several years after an athlete has stopped taking steroids. (Harris 13). The primary affected organs by steroid use are the kidneys and liver. Some athletes develop male breasts and suffer from serious acne problems. Certain youngsters who are aspiring sportsmen try to emulate their role models who are known to take steroids. After a few months on steroids, they probably do find their endurance and strength have increased, but the steroids end up taking a toll on their growth hormones, thereby making these teenagers have a stunted growth.
Some of the other harmful effects of steroids include ligament injuries, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, yellow eyes, water retention, cholesterol level changes, liver disease, genital changes and sterility. Women athletes who use steroids naturally start developing masculine traits and features, such as male baldness and facial hair growth, due to increased level of testosterone in their body. There are numerous reported cases of famous sportsmen falling into a coma after injecting dangerous levels of steroids. There are a few cases of death of athletes by steroid injection as well.
Although using steroids or enhancing sports performance is condemnable, steroids have a number of medical uses nonetheless. Treatment of hypogonadal men’s disorder is rendered by using steroids. For teenagers suffering from anemia or edema, anabolic steroids are often prescribed by doctors. Steroids also find its use in the treatment of HIV positive patients, burn victims, and undernourished patients. Steroids help in building of tissues, thus it’s beneficial for people suffering from the aforementioned diseases. However, the most important medical use of steroids is for the healing of joints which are inflamed or swollen. A number of pharmaceutical companies these days make various kinds of corticosteroid drugs for treating skin inflammations, connective tissue diseases and arthritis.
When sportsmen are caught taking steroids, they are generally sent to a drug rehabilitation centre, and they are required paying a fine as well. However, we’ve seen how often these sportsmen return to the game and their drug habit is never mentioned by the media again, despite the fact that they might still be taking performance enhancing drugs such as steroids. This also gives a wrong impression on the kids and teenagers who feel one can take steroids and be accepted by the people without any trouble.
There is a long list of sportsmen who have used or a re still using steroids to boost their performance. Some of the most famous athletes who have been known of taking steroids are Florence Griffith Joyner and Mark McGwire. The case of Florence Griffith Joyner is very tragic. She had won a number of Gold medals in the Seoul Olympic Games 1988, and had broken a few world records too. Naturally, several people became her fan and numerous American budding female athletes treated her as an idol. Unfortunately, it was suspected that she had taken steroids during the Games, which was obviously illegal. What was more unfortunate was that she died of a seizure at a young age of 38, apparently by a high degree of steroid use (Denham 363). Ben Johnson was another athlete who won the gold in the Seoul Olympics, only to be stripped of his medal because of steroid use. Ben Johnson not only did tarnish his image, he also tarnished the image of Canada in front of the world by taking performance enhancing steroids. A few other famous sportsmen known for steroid use are baseball legends Jason Giambi and Mark McGuire.
Some experts believe that the use of steroids is actually the result of the pressures put on the sportsmen by a society which is abnormal. Sport fans expect their teams and their favorite players will constantly give outstanding performances, in order to entertain them. However, if the sportsmen fall short, the people and the media start to criticize them harshly. This may be one of the reasons why sportsmen take steroids. But reasons such as these do not justify the use of steroids. Since taking steroids does not only harm the athletes, it also harms the credibility and integrity of the sport. Therefore, taking performance boosting drugs should be totally banned in sports.
Denham, Bryan E. “On drugs in sports in the aftermath of Flo Jo’s death, big Mac’s attack.”Journal of Sport and Social 23.2 (1999):362-367.Print
Harris, Micheal. Culture of Steroid Use among High School Athletes. Canada: Lulu. Com,2008. Print
Yesalis, Chales. Anabolic Steroids in Sport and Exercise. New York: Human Kinetics, 2000. Print