Steroid use has become very common in the world of athletics. Steroids are no longer just used by body builders. Steroids are now becoming widely used in all sports such as baseball, football, track and field, and ice hockey. Steroids have become easy for just about anyone to get their hands on them. This has become a serious problem that needs to be taken care of immediately.
A steroid is a laboratory-made version of the human hormone testosterone, which is primarily found in males. Steroids are taken by athletes to enhance the growth of muscles. There are however, certain kinds of steroids that do enhance the growth of bones. The use of steroids creates many risks that are often looked over when compared to the benefits. Some of these risks include damaging important body organs such as the liver and kidneys; some of the other risks include shrinkage of testicles in men and they may create bad breakouts of acne. There are also other side effects which result in thicker skin and courser facial hair (Mihoces, 2000) (Conaway, 1998).
The problem of steroid use exists everywhere including all ages from young middle school students to forty-year-old men. A Penn State professor states in the USA Today web site that approximately 175,000 teenage girls and 375,000 teenage boys have used steroids at one time or another (Michoces, 2000). This is a serious problem when teenage boys and girls are using steroids. Unless using one specific steroid, all of these teenagers are going to stunt their growth because the most common steroids used completely halt the growth of bones and increase the growth of muscles.
Many people take steroids for many different reasons but most of the athletes that take steroids take them for one reason and that is to become better at what they do. Some of the reasons that athletes take steroids are because the competition is so high. In the sport of Major League Baseball for instance, only around seven hundred players participate in a single season. There are approximately 7,100 players that play professional baseball all together, including the minor leagues. The average career in the major leagues only lasts 2.7 years. This is a rather short career and considering the amount of money to be made, every player would like to play as long as he possibly can. There are also other incentives that makes a player want to play longer and that is the Players’ Association Pension Fund. This is when a player plays five years or more he becomes eligible to receive a penchant, which can support the average person for the rest of their life. These are only a few of the reasons why athletes result to using steroids (Prinston Review Online, 2000).
Steroids are also high at the college level even in baseball. Considering the large amount of college baseball players there are, and then looking at the small amount of professional baseball players that there are it is no surprise to find the large amount athletes using steroids. The same principle follows all other sports too.
Steroids have obviously become a problem in all of our professional sports. In professional baseball, approximately thirty percent of all major league baseball players use steroids. This is just the numbers of players that admit to using them. In the major leagues, there is no such thing as drug testing and steroids are not illegal, but they need to be. In an article written By Bob Nightengale he writes “Why should players like Fred McGriff or Tim Salmon, two of the finest power-hitters of the game who are drug-free, have to watch players on steroids out-perform them on the field?” (Nightengale, 1997). This is the truth and it is completely unfair. The only way to stop this problem is to begin random drug testing among the professional leagues. This might also be a huge step to cutting down the numbers of college and high school athletes who use steroids. If level of professional athletics is not so high then maybe the college and high school athletes will not feel as much pressure to perform at such a high level. Certain high schools are already taking the steps needed to cut down on the numbers of high school athletes using steroids. In North Carolina, the Gaston County school system began random drug testing student athletes. (WRAL 5 Online, 1999)
In conclusion steroid use is not only unfair to true meaning of the game but it is also unfair the player’s teammates and their opponents. Professional athletes need to be better role models and learn to grow up and start doing things on their own. The risk of steroids are too high and may be life threatening in some cases. The Professional athletes need to understand this, then maybe the younger athletes will follow in the footsteps of their role models and learn to accomplish something on their own too.
Conaway, J. (1998). Should You Boost Your Testosterone?
On Health (www.onhealth.com/ch1/columnist/item,26055.asp)
Mihoces, G. (2000). Steroid survey stirs concern
USA Today (www.usatoday.com/sports/ccovtue.htm)
Prinston Review Online (2000). Career: Baseball Player
Prinston Review Online (www.review.com/Career/templates)
Nightengale, B. (1997). Who’s Juiced?
The Sporting News (www.tsnsportingnews.com/voices/bob_nightengale)
WRAL 5 Online (1999). Gaston first school system in
state to test athletes for steroids
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