Steroids.” It is a familiar word with typically negative connotations. No doubt, most have heard about athletes who abuse steroids and are looked upon as “superhero” types. On the other hand, some may be all too aware of the bad side effects associated with steroid medications, including heart and liver damage. Steroids should be banned from athletic usage because of the negative long-term effects and influence on teens.
More than a million people in the U.S. are thought to have used steroids, 48 percent of them are under the age of twenty-five. Of the million people that have experimented with steroids, very few are aware of the harmful effects. Some of the most common effects include; severe acne, high blood pressure, trembling, and weakening of tendons which may result in tearing or rupture (DiConsiglio, 4).
However, for teenagers, there is the additional risk of premature closure of the growth plates of the long bones. Even if not for this added risk, the self-administration of anabolics by teenagers must be strongly discouraged. As compared to mature adults, teenagers are more likely to abuse anabolic steroids to the possible detriment of their health. Generally, less focused upon long-range health than adults, more susceptible to peer pressure, and eager for fast results, teenagers are much more likely to use anabolics in dangerously high dosages and without any medical supervision. The effects can be irreversible or undetected until it is too late. Unlike almost all other drugs, all steroid-based hormones have one unique characteristic – their dangers may not be detected for months, years, or even decades. Therefore, long after steroid use has ended, he or she may develop side effects.
When younger athletes see their “superhero” athlete hit that game winning home run or run in the winning touchdown, they envision being just like them. The younger athlete then begins to want to jump higher and run faster than their opponents, thus promoting them to seek performance-enhancing drugs. This could steer the younger athlete towards performance enhancing, such as steroids. What the young athletes do not realize is that many professional athletes have ruined their lives and careers due to steroid use. Take Oakland Raider, Lyle Alzado for an example, he started taking anabolic steroids in college. Later when he was in the NFL, he always denied taking steroids, just as everybody else did. Then on July 1991, he appeared on the cover of Sports Illustrated, along with the words, ”I LIED.” A month past his 43rd birthday, he fell victim to brain cancer that he blamed on the steroids and other illegal performance-enhancing substances he had used for 20 years (Butler, 3).
Some steroids are easy to purchase over the counter. A new performance enhancer called andro (androstenedione) is a very popular one. It can be bought in most drug and nutrition stores. It is most commonly known as the drug that Mark McGwire used when he shattered the MLB (Major League Baseball) home run record. Even though McGwire publicly announced that he took the drug, “it doesn’t take Einstein to know that when kids see Mark McGwire, they’re going to head to the mall and buy the supplements,” said Charles Yesalis, a professor of health and human development at Pennsylvania State University.
Although steroid use is illegal without a prescription, some steroids are used for treatment of certain diseases such as specific types of anemia, some breast cancers, and testosterone deficiency.
In conclusion, whether society likes it, doctors and scientists will constantly be trying to improve drugs to help the body perform better. Even with all the improvements, steroid use should be prohibited for all athletes. Athletes need to realize that it is not worth a first place finish for the sacrifice of their health.
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