The Use of Steroids in Athletics and its Effects on Athletes
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, an athlete is defined as “a person who is trained or skilled in exercises, sports, or games requiring physical strength, agility, or stamina.” Athletes train and practice year-round to prepare for the competition and challenges. At times during the preparation, injuries are sustained and fatigue is endured. To rid themselves of these obstacles, athletes take performance-enhancing drugs, which are also known as steroids. In the United States, the use of steroids is illegal without a prescription. When it comes to punishing athletes for the use of performance-enhancing drugs, depending on what sport and/or what league you are playing in, the penalty is dramatically different. For example, if you are found using steroids during the winter or summer Olympics, you automatically receive a two-year suspension for a positive test (Bodley 1). If you are caught a second time using performance-enhancing stimulants, you receive a lifetime ban from the Olympics (Bodley 1). In comparison, the National Hockey League does not have any drug testing or punishment at all for steroid use.
Steroids promote muscle growth and the development of male sexual characteristics (National Drug Treatment Center). Consequently, steroids are often abused by athletes to enhance athletic performance and to improve physical appearance (National Drug Treatment Center). Steroids are available in many ways including tablets, liquid, gel, and cream form (National Drug Treatment Center). Charles Yesalis, a steroids expert, believes these drugs can affect you for a long time. "They (steroids) can assist you a decade or more after you last used them. They can take you to a place you neither have the time nor the ability to get to yourself, and if you continue with the right exercise and diet, you don't go back to zero" (Brennan).
What the public does not see is the long term deleterious side effects. Some of these include cardiovascular deterioration, liver and kidney problems, sterility, mood swings, depression, and impotence. The side effects range from reversible to irreversible and vary in their severity. Because steroid use has not been prominent in sports for a significant number of years, the public has not been exposed to the ravages of long term use. Consequently, the typical sports fan and especially the young ones do not see that the players payoff for using these drugs is frequently negative and almost always life altering.
One idea that has been tossed around by Congress and other sports and law related organizations is an “all-sports test plan” (Associated Press). Representative Cliff Stearns, chairman of a House Energy and Commerce, has proposed that all athletes follow one unified drug testing policy (Associated Press). "Our elite athletic organizations, both professional and amateur, should establish uniform, world-class, drug-testing standards that...