Performance Enhancing Drugs - The Pros and Cons of Steriods

Performance Enhancing Drugs - The Pros and Cons of Steriods

They were introduced to people as a medicine to help cure hypogonadism. This is a condition which causes insufficient testosterone. These are the famous performance enhancing drugs or as we all are familiar with, steroids. Since early years until this present day, there have been many arguments debating over several issues in our society such as abortion, death penalty, adoption, or even religion. Today, sports and drug use are among the most controversial topics and make for a great headliner. According to David Robinson, opponents argue that people who consume PED’s are “cheaters who gain an unfair advantage” while drug supporters think that “…with pro sport increasing its grasp on society, coupled with the pressures placed on athletes to win at all costs, steroids are here to stay.” So should performance enhancing drugs be allowed in sports?

I personally disagree on allowing athletes to consume steroids because of the dangerous risks and many side effects that people don’t want to know. Some of the side effects include: Premature death, Cancer (all types), Liver damage, Kidney damage, Prostate damage, Enlarged clitoris, Shrunken testicles, Extreme acne, Addiction, Psychosis, Impotence, Infertility, Baldness, Irritability, Aggressiveness, Depression, Mood swings, Reduced sperm count, Pain/difficulty urinating, Uncontrollable anger/rage, increased susceptibility to injuries, Increased susceptibility to infections, Premature closure of growth plates (adolescents), HIV/AIDS from the sharing of needles, Menstrual irregularity/cessation, Breast enlargement (males), Breast reduction (females), Increase in male characteristics (females), Heart and circulatory problems . Steroids are life threatening and have consequences, but athletes refuse to understand this.

The consequences of using steroids not only include giving you a bad reputation, but also hurt your body and mind. Since steroids hurt your body and mind, my opinion is that they should be banned from athletic competitions. There are numerous phenomenon’s steroids can trigger. Steroids not only affect your muscle and muscle tissues, but also the human brain, vital body parts, and the nervous system. Stress can be caused by steroids which causes acne, so if you happen to come across someone with huge muscles and a face detailed with acne, it’s a hint that that person is using steroids. They affect the way your bones grow and develop and also affect an athlete psychologically. They shape your mood and aggravate a person which leads to fights and other disputes. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that “the medical dangers of steroid use far outweigh the advantage of gains in strength or muscle mass.”

Not only do steroids cause side effects and such, they also lead to death. USATODAY.com gives statistics about the debate on steroid use. It says “In five of the 25 deaths, medical examiners concluded that steroids might have played a role. Excessive steroid use can lead to an enlarged heart. In 12 others, examiners in medical reports cited evidence of use of painkillers, cocaine and other drugs.” Many Americans are affected by steroid use, but yet they refuse to stop the using them. Day to day male teenagers want to look like one of their famous heroes such as a baseball player, pro wrestler, basketball player or even favorite football players. They want to look like their idols. Another reason is because a peer or even coach pressures them into looking bigger and better. For example, known as a social, cheerful person at Plano High School, related to a major league pitcher, and had a brother pitching in college seventeen year old Taylor Hooten not only used pills, but also used injections. According to his family doctor and parents, Hooten was depressed. His depression began because his baseball coach told him he would be a better pitcher if he was bigger. Taylor Hooten hung himself on July 15th from his bedroom door as he saw no way out of his hell life. Another young man, sophomore in high school, known for having good standards and making people laugh was a starter on the varsity football team.

According to the Athletes against Steroids, his coach told him he needed to get bigger and stronger in a little amount of time no matter what the teenager had to do. Not only are every day civilians victims of steroid use, but also famous athletes. NFL football player, Lyle Alzado played for various teams in his life time. He played for the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, and the LA Raiders. Because of his abuse of steroids he began to lose his hair, had a hard time walking which obligated him to hold on to someone for support, and had trouble remembering. His last request before passing away from brain cancer was “That no one else dies this way.” Ed Gantner or as his family would call him, Eddie (age thirty), grew up as a small body boy. As he got into college, he discovered the famous use of steroids. By the time he was finished with college and moved into wrestling, him and his drugs were as some would say “joined at the hip” or inseparable. Eddie would soon realize he would suffer kidney failure, a weak heart, roid rage, and manic depression. He went through surgery to replace his kidneys, but his steroid addiction was so dreadful that in a short period of time, he restored his weightlifting and steroids. Eddie, like many others, was not able to handle his health problems. Unfortunately, he put an end to his life by putting a bullet through his heart on New Year’s Eve. Steroid use is not the only problematic drug used in professional sports. Louise Halliwell, Scotland’s Strongest Body Builder was known for her power lifting abilities and titles and was also wanted as a personal trainer. She died at age thirty eight on December 10, 2003 after being in a two year coma for insulin overdose. Because of the insulin overdose, her brain suffered permanent damages.

Just as there are people for allowing steroid use there are people against it besides me. James Ross explains in his article that athletes that use steroids are gaining an unfair advantage over those athletes who have worked harder on their natural body building. According to littleleague.org, “there are no shortcuts to success.” San Diego Padres pitcher David Wells says “There are guys in the game only because of steroids. They couldn't make it with their natural talent, so they had to enhance themselves. It sucks.” Dave Krieger goes in a little deeper and discusses about morals and ethics. Krieger argues that “…the deterioration of ethics and morals in a culture that turns the other way when someone cheats.” This is true because I have grown up playing all kinds of sports starting with running cross country to playing basketball to running track and my success was based on my talent alone and personal strengths. Never once in my athletic career have I tried to enhance my athletic abilities with the use of performance enhancing drugs. I think that if an athlete or whoever wants to look good just train hard and take care of their body. I really don’t see how hard it is. I fall in with David Wells who doesn't agree with the use of steroids because people should not be allowed to use steroids. It gives them an unfair advantage in whatever sport they are playing or in other words, cheating.

Baseball is the sport for steroids nowadays. In 2003, Alex Rodriguez was tested for drug use and resulted positive. This was a news outburst and was talked about for a long time and probably still is a subject. In order to be successful or triumphant, an athlete should use their capacity, skills, and their abilities that they were gifted with. There are a few ways to stay physically fit without having to take drastic measures. A few ideas that Little League offers are training hard, but safe and eating a healthy diet with plenty of rest. If needed, one may also talk to personal doctor for more suggestions on a healthy diet and also one may contact a trainer if interested in bodybuilding. If we do not ban the use of steroids from athletic competitions then we will ultimately not be having competitions at all. A competition is a contest between two people based on their natural talents; therefore if someone is using steroids it automatically gives them an unfair advantage over the other person and takes away from the drive of the competition. Steroids might boost ego, but they deprive everything else. Not only do steroids take a physical and mental toll on an individual, but also an emotional one.

The emotional toll that steroids can take on an individual’s life is sometimes greater than that of the physical and mental. When an athlete begins taking steroids, they aren’t thinking of the consequences it will later cause themselves, family, or their coaches. Thus bringing me to the emotional toll this takes on their lives. Families can be ripped apart and completely destroyed. Example being, famous athletes, once the big secret is let out, the media will rip them apart, trying to find the “facts”. Although, this leads to more emotional stress for both the athlete and their family. On a more personal level, once a high school student is found to be taking steroids their reputation as well as their coaches is on the line. A high school student can be banned from playing sports for the rest of their high school career. This can discourage and lower the self-esteem of a person.

To discourage steroid use is only the first step. We should take the moral code of integrity and fairness to all sports including the ones that are notorious for its use. Sports are used to boast self-esteem, create long lasting friendships, and learn to love working as a team. If steroid use is involved than that completely undoes everything that sports are meant to be and stand for. There is much more fun and accomplishment if one does all the work of muscle building plus none of the negative side effects. The health risk destructive steroids are linked to bone dysfunction and death. They not only affect the physical health but the mental health as well. Steroids users are known for mood swings including anger issues and depression. Many opt for the final solution of suicide thanks to the drug’s powerful control. Let us learn our lesson from the dying football player who suffered the long term affects of using the drug. Or the many high school students that choose to end their young lives because of a bad choice in the method of body building. There is really no positive side to using Steroids or any other drug. The final chapter is always the same, early death and no bright life should be extinguished out of vanity or fifteen minutes of fame. We should educate all young athletes to learn that the disadvantages severally outweigh the benefits and then we should teach them the value of self motivation and how much fruit will blossom from good old fashioned work.

Works Cited:
Alzado, Lyle. "Steroid Deaths." Athletes Against Steroids: Beware Of Using These Powerful Drugs. Web. 04 May 2011.
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Kreiger, Dave. "Cheating on Steroids; What Happened to Ethics?" Steroid Nation. 23 Feb. 2008 Web. 05 May 2011. .

Kennard, Jerry. "Anabolic Steroids Use and Abuse." Men's Health - Health and Fitness Information for Men. July 2006. Web. 11 Mar. 2011. .

Parents. "Using Steroids = Cheating." Little League Online. Spalding, Honda, Subway, Dudley. Web. 05 May 2011. .

Robinson, David. "The Pros & Cons of Steroids." Weight Lifting, Weight Training, Bench Press Strength - Critical Bench. Web. 16 Feb. 2011. .

Ross, James. "The Benefits and Risks of Steroids for Athletes - by James Ross - Helium." Helium - Where Knowledge Rules. Web. 10 Mar. 2011..

Swartz, Jon. "USATODAY.com - High Death Rate Lingers behind Fun Facade of Pro Wrestling." News, Travel, Weather, Entertainment, Sports, Technology, U.S. & World

USATODAY.com. 12 Mar. 2004. Web. 06 May 2011..