Drug Abuse in Athletes
Is taking drugs to boost yourself up just to win or maybe even break a record really worth losing your career over? All the hard work you put in over the years, just for it to be taken away from you in a second over performance enhancing drugs because you wanted to win. Maybe your injury was so bad that you need to use illegal drugs to cure it without doctor orders. As a result, to this you could risk the chance of failing a drug test and having your career in jeopardy. I plan to prove that athletes do not need to abuse performance enhancing drugs to be great at what they do.
When you compare athletes that use performance enhancing drugs to athletes that do not, they are both capable of the same outcome and performance. Those that use these drugs are at a getting risk of so many bad things to come. I argue that yes sports are competitive, but when you use drugs it takes the enjoyment out of it because you are cheating yourself. Using performance enhancing drugs does not only come with with so many health risks but it can ruin your career that you as an athlete have so worked so hard to build. One wrong decision and everything all those practices and workout that you have done for your whole life could potentially be taken away from you in a blink of an eye. Throughout my paper I will discuss why athletes abuse drugs, the types of drugs that athletes abuse and how it affects the athletes, explaining both the benefits and the consequences for abusing drugs.
Every athlete wants to be the best, they are constantly looking for the advantage over the competition. Athletes strive to be the best and will do anything to be on top. Athletes tend to get so caught up the competition aspect of the sport, that they may make decisions that can be harmful to their body and potentially ruin their career. There is so many reasons why athletes abuse drugs for example, to get bigger, stronger and faster all so they can try to be better than the rest. Another reason to take performance enhancing drugs is so that they don’t feel contact during competition, football is a good example for this. Performance enhancing drugs have become more and more popular throughout the last several years. They can be used to deal with stress, the stress that builds up with all the pressure of when an athlete performs and how they perform in that particular game or event. Drugs are also used to prevent physical pain within the sport and help deal with the pain caused from injuries (Reardon & Creado 2014.) On the flip side to that, there are other alternatives that are legal that can help with those same things. For example, lots of athletes take ice baths after a long workout or game. According to a sports medicine article by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, there is four classes of these performance enhancing drugs. They include androstenedione, creatine, anabolic steroids and ephedra alkaloids. The article also states all of these types of drugs are available over the counter in many places and stores except for the drugs in the same category as anabolic steroids (Abuse of Drugs, n.d.) I believe that since majority of these performance enhancing drugs are pretty easy to get a hold of then this has made the performances enhancing drug more popular to use in athletes all over the world.
Each drug has its own benefits that help the athlete out with what they are wanting to enhance but with that comes many health risks. There are several different steroids out there that athletes can get ahold of. Most anabolic steroids are used to increase muscle mass and strength. Testosterone is the main anabolic steroid produced by the body. Athletes types use synthetic modifications of testosterone, they can be taken as pills or injections into one’s body. These drugs help the athlete recover from workouts by reducing any muscle damage that may happen during a particular workout (Performance-enhancing, 2015). Athletes are constantly practicing and working hard to win, break records and be the greatest of all time. So, it would make sense that they want to take something that will take the pain and soreness away. At the same time, is it worth it? Every athlete goes through pain and injuries, that is just part of being a great athlete. I do not understand why people would take the easy way out of it and take these performances enhancing drugs. Another drug is erythropoietin, it is mainly used by endurance athletes. These drugs increase the production of red blood cells, which then helps with the movement of oxygen to each muscle. Athletes that demand great physical stamina, such as track stars, abuse this type of drug so that they can be the fastest that they can be. Another drug abused by athletes are stimulants, this includes the street drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine. The most common form of stimulants are energy drinks that include high amounts of caffeine and amphetamines. These increase alertness, decrease appetite and can reduce fatigue (Performance-enhancing, 2015) All of these drugs that athletes abuse can all lead to a better physical performance, but do the benefits really outweigh the risk and consequences that may acquire through the use of performance enhancing drugs.
The consequences for abusing performance enhancing drugs are far more worse than the benefits that these drugs might give an athlete. It is illegal to use performance enhancing drugs in the United States, but a lot of athletes still try to get away with it without being caught. There is both short term and long term effects of using performance enhancing drugs. Anabolic steroids have different health risk for males and females. Males might experience baldness, have bigger breast and can seriously affect the ability to produce sperm in order to eventually have children. Women can develop a deeper voice and can have an increase amount of body hair. Both males and females can experience heart and circulatory problems, aggressive or violent behaviors, serve acne, inhibited growth and development, diabetes, vision problems, etc. (Performance-enhancing, 2015). The list goes on and on, some effects are obviously more serious than other but they still really important. Sometimes because the dose of the steroid is so high, and people do not understand the health risk when taking the steroid that when they abuse these drugs it can lead to death. At the college level, the National Collegiate Athletic Association can perform regular drug test to ensure that all athletes are following the rules and are healthy. Failure to pass can lead to major consequences such as kicked off the team or sitting the bench till the athlete is clean for a given amount of time (Reardon & Creado 2014). This tends to lead to weekly or monthly drug test for the athlete. are clean and can stay clean. Moving up to the more elite professional athletes are given guidelines from the World Anti-Doping Code, which ensures that all sports in all countries follow the policies stated. Athletes can be sent to get treatment and attend rehabilitation if needed (Reardon & Creado 2014.), Abusing drugs can lead to the loss of a scholarships metals and records that athletes could have achieved or were in the running to achieve. Getting caught in these performances enhancing drugs could potentially end your career as an athlete., with that comes a loss of fans, negative comments and opinions, as well as your face being all over the news. I do not believe that using performance enhancing drugs are worth it, you should not cheat yourself has an athlete to be the best. You can work harder and still be the best without all that mess.
Barry Bonds was a major league baseball player. He is an example of an athlete that got caught up in wanting to be the best, that he did not make some of the best choices throughout his baseball career. Barry Bonds took steroids in hopes of getting stronger, to help him hit home runs and break the record. If he would have never taken the illegal steroids that he did then Barry Bonds would be in the Hall of Fame today. Since he got in trouble for using performance enhancing drugs during his baseball career, he is now stuck on the outside looking into the Hall of Fame. In a sports illustrated article, Tom Verducci states that Less than a million households watched Barry Bonds break the record, whereas 14.9 million households watched Hank Aaron pass Babe Ruth in 1947 (Verducci, 2017). That is an example of how cheating and using drugs to boost your performance takes the excitement out of the game. As you can tell more people watched as Hank Aaron broke the record rather than when Barry Bonds did, because when Hank Aaron broke the record he was not using drugs. He broke the record by putting in the hard work and doing his very best to out beat his competition in hopes of being the record. Barry Bonds took the easy way to get the record by using steroids, his performance was altered from the drugs. He did have to work has hard as the athletes before him or just athletes in general that do not use performance enhancing drugs. The fans did not enjoy the choices that he made, it just took the enjoyment and purpose out of the reasoning.
Justin Gatlin is another star athlete who got caught in the mix up of taking supplements and drugs that are banned from his professional sport, that later got him not only one but two suspensions. His first suspension some might say was unfair, he was banned from competing in running track for two years. It later got changed to only being one year for having amphetamine in his system, which came from him taking Adderall that he has been taking since he was a kid for ADD. His second suspension came when he failed a drug test and tested positive for a steroid testosterone booster that is banned. He originally was supposed to be banned from competing for eight years, but it also ended up getting changed down to only 4 years (Haigh, 2017). Ever since he was banned from competing everyone has called him a cheater and believed he should have been banned for his entire life. He has won some major events since coming back from being banned but people pay no mind to it. For example, in 2017 he beat Usain Bolt in the 100-meter sprint. That race itself had a lot of hype and publicly coming into the event, that race would be the last time Usain Bolt would ever run the 100-meter dash in his career (Haigh, 2017). Justin Gatlin ended up winning the race making it an upset. Everyone was still talking about Usain even after Gatlin just won the race. Sadly, the only things being said about Justin Gatlin are negative.
Performance enhancing drugs are not worth the all the negative things come along with using them and getting caught. The reasons that athletes use these drugs do not out way the consequences. Like I said before, every athletes goal is to be the best they can be, but they also have the goal of being the best out of everyone they are competing against. Athletes that abuse drugs only cheat themselves by taking the easy way out, because they so caught up in the competition part of the sport. Being caught using performance enhancing drugs can end careers, result in the loss of a metal or a record-breaking title. You would think that this would stop athletes from using them, because of the scare of everything that they have worked for their whole life taken away just like that. Barry Bonds is not in the Hall of Fame today because of his poor choices as an athlete. Justin Gatlin was banned from running track for a few years because his decision to use drugs then he got in trouble once again for the same thing. The result from using performance enhancing drugs had a negative impact on each athlete’s life. They lost titles and records, they even lost fan for cheating their way out of being the best. Taking drugs is not worth it at all, athletes should just work their hardest to be the best they can be. They should stay clean, just like any other athlete. So, when asked the question, is taking drugs to boost yourself up just to win or maybe even break a record really worth losing your career over? The answer is most definitely no, using performance enhancing drugs are not worth losing your career over.