Steroids Essay Research Paper A Struggle for

Steroids Essay, Research Paper

A Struggle for Size

Athletic competition has been part of society since the early beginnings

of man. Gladiators, wrestlers, and sprinters are some the early types of

athletes that competed. Mankind seems to have been born with a desire to

compete; every man feels the need to have dominance over another man. These

facts are even apparent in today’s society. Now there are all kinds of sports

to choose from, and many of these sports are played at a professional level.

These sporting events give individuals that chance to be the better of another

person, just as the earlier ones did. That inbred desire to dominate will

lead men to do almost anything for victory. This is good in many cases

because it shows courage and perseverance; on the other hand, many have taken

it to the extreme of using outside agents to better their chances for

dominance. By this I mean, a large number of athletes use performance

enhancing drugs. “Athletes have taken natural or synthetic performance aids

since the earliest days of organized sports competition”(Clark, Cooper, and

Griffen, 525). The usage of performance enhancing drugs like steroids has

become too widespread and it needs to be stopped. The illegal production and

distribution of steroids should be disrupted or even halted.

The athletic community as a whole looks down upon the usage of such

drugs. Many rules and regulations have been created to cut down on the number

of athletes that use drugs to heighten their performances. The Olympics

exemplify this strategy very well. If an Olympic competitor admits or is

tested positive for steroid use the can be stripped of any medals won, or they

can be disqualified from all competition. A well remembered instance in which

this occurred was when the sprinter Ben Johnson won the gold medal in the

100-meter dash, but not to long after he was denounced from his position as

the worlds fastest man. Professional and college football in the United

States also takes this approach to athletes caught using steroids. Football

players may be fined or suspended from playing in games for testing positive.

Just last month three National Football League players were suspended from the

last four games of their season because of testing positive for substances

that were similar to steroids. These are not the only events in which testing

and penalties take place. Many other sports test their athlete for steroid

use. These methods of testing and penalizing the athlete are valiant attempts

at reducing the problem. Yet, these attempts are not enough because they

focus too much on those that use the drugs instead of the sources of the

substances. In no way though are the athletes free from blame. They are the

individuals that must make the final decision, but there needs to be more of

an effort to penalize the persons distributing these drugs.

In order to solve any type of problem, one should consider the source of

the dilemma, and then head straight for that source with the intent to dispel

the struggle. I have a simple solution to propose that will correct the

escalating use of steroids among the athletes of today, but it may be hard to

accomplish. Although it seems like a good plan to penalize the athletes for

using steroids it really is not, because all this does is temporarily lessen

the use, nothing more. These athletes are taking the full blame for this

problem, but there are others that should share this burden with them. I

believe that instead of attacking athletes as though they are the criminals,

we need to assault the distributors of these substances. By cutting off the

problem at the root, which is the distributors and producers, we prevent the

athlete from ever having the chance of getting their hands on these steroids.

If we do not address the problem in this manner then it is possible that it

could never get resolved. It will continue to grow like weeds in a garden if

we do not rectify the issue. Leaving it up to the athletes to refrain from

usage allows the substances to continue being circulated, and this does not

bring us towards a solution it merely pacifies us. There needs to be some

strict fines placed on those that produce or distribute steroids.

It is necessary to understand the nature of these substances and what

they are. Steroids are natural or synthetically occurring compounds with a

wide range of physiological activity, as defined by Encarta Encyclopedia.

Steroids are substances that increase strength and size of the user. These

substances do this because they possess a tissue building quality. This

quality speeds up certain processes at the cellular level that involve growth

and development. Steroids are commonly used in the medical world for many

ailments and injuries. Included in the family of steroids are sex hormones,

adrenal hormones, and bile acids. Some of the substances are important to the

field of biology, as well as medicine. It was common earlier in the century

for steroids to be used to treat patients suffering from gastrointestinal

disorders. The steroids helped these patients build tissue that they

otherwise could not, because their disorders kept them from absorbing

nutrients. Steroids come in a wide array of forms, and can be taken many

different ways. These substances can be taken orally by swallowing pills, or

injected directly into the bloodstream. There are a couple new forms that can

be placed between the cheek and gum, as with chewing tobacco. The most common

forms of steroids are the anabolic steroids that are associated with the

sprinter Ben Johnson. Anabolic steroids increase muscle development, improve

strength, and enhance endurance. Few of these anabolic substances are legal

for use, maybe only a handful. Some anabolic steroids such as oxymethalone,

nandrolone, and stanozolol can only be found on the black market. Usage of

these three drugs can lead to addiction and severe health problems and other

side effects. Some of the health problems include sterility, heart or liver

disease, and kidney damage. Other common side effects are increased

aggressiveness and paranoia. Female users face even more problems than male

users. In females many physical changes may occur such as growth of facial

and body hair, deepening of the voice, diminished breasts, and abnormal

menstrual cycles. If taken by to early anabolic steroids may stunt growth, by

fusing the growth plates. Steroids can be beneficial in certain situations,

but usually they only lead to harmful results.

In today’s world professional athletes are placed in high regard by

society. These athletes are made into role models and almost godlike

creatures. Because pro athletes are so glorified, many more are using

steroids to boost themselves and there careers into stardom. Ben Johnson’s

medal stripping marked the beginning of this widespread use by bringing it to

the attention of the world. The most likely place to find a steroid pumped

body is in the sport of professional bodybuilding. It is likely that nearly

all of the individuals that compete at the professional level of bodybuilding

have taken some form of steroids, during the course of their careers.

Professional wrestling which has gained much popularity in recent years is

notorious for steroid use among participants. The National Football League is

another place where steroid abuse has caught the attention of viewers. It

seems as though every day a new player is busted for testing positive.

Professional Baseball as well has had its share of controversy. Last year

Mark McGuire received some unwanted attention for his use of androstenedione,

a growth hormone. So, McGuire ended up stopping his usage so that he would

not be criticized when he broke the homerun record. Younger athletes that see

this behavior are very likely to emulate it. Brian Bozworth, a well-known

college football player, is also remembered for his steroid use during his

college days.

Another well remembered football player that struggled with steroid use

was Lyle Alzado. He used them all throughout his college and professional

careers. Alzado used the steroids secretly during his career to help him

achieve the greatness that he did. Eventually he declared publicly that he

had lied about his use, but this was only after some deadly side effects had

set in. During his early years playing he looked at steroids as answer to

gaining competitive edge in the rigorous sport, and quickly he became

addicted. He quickly gained recognition, and in 1977 he was award defensive

player of the year from the league. Alzado used the steroid called stanozolol

and later nandrolone, both extremely addictive and dangerous. He continued to

use them throughout his career disregarding the dangers that they brought.

Alzado’s popularity won him some television roles after his football career.

After being diagnosed with his disease, Alzado earnestly tried to convince

people of the dangers that steroid use entailed. Eventually he died from a

rare form of brain cancer that he attributed to steroids. Alzado was only

forty-three when he died (Compton’s Online Encyclopedia).

Competing in athletics on any level has its pressures. Pressures to

perform and win can be a heavy burden for players. Every player wants to be

the best and become the next superstar of their sport, like Michael Jordan is

to basketball. As with many areas of life, the better you perform on the

field the more prestige, money, and power you will receive. These rewards are

very enticing to young athletes, and many would sacrifice profusely to achieve

such goals. Getting to such greatness requires a great amount of time, skill,

hard work, and luck. But, instead of sacrificing time and hard work athletes

look for the easy way to reach stardom. This seems to be a theme that is

growing more common in the realm of sports. Still, some athletes may not be

as gifted as others may, so they likely will try to make up for deficiencies

by using steroids. Nevertheless, many factors can lead young athletes to turn

towards steroids.

Ever since I was young I have been involved in sports. It has always

been a dream of mine to play college football or baseball at a prestigious

school, and then maybe go to the big leagues. As the years have passed my

dream has gotten closer and closer to reality. I am now attending school on a

football scholarship. Along the way though I have felt many pressures from

family, friends, coaches, and mainly my self. All them want to succeed.

Because of these tremendous pressures I personally have been tempted to use

drugs to enhance my athletic abilities. I have seen many of my teammates use

them with no problems. Due to the fact that members of my team have used

them, I also have easy access in attaining them. I have been offered a free

amount several times just to try them. Thankfully, I have refrained from using

steroids. I have chosen other safer alternatives, but it may be harder to get

the results I need. I have decided to use dietary supplements to increase my

protein and nutrient intake. I have found that there are many stores around

where one can get good nutritional supplements to help themselves gain weight

and strength. I glad that technology has provided some decent alternative to

steroids, because they are a very tempting to young athletes like myself.

“Since the 1950s, anabolic steroid use in order to increase muscular

development and to improve strength and endurance has spread rapidly among

both male and female amateur and professional athletes”(Compton’s Online

Encyclopedia). This trend will continue to spread unless we address to source

of the problem, rather than the athlete. The makers and distributors of these

harmful and illegal substances must be caught and then penalized. It is

important that we do something about this problem because many people will

take these steroids without understanding the damages that they can cause to

their bodies. I have found alternatives to steroids, so I know from personal

experience that it is possible to be successful without them.


“Steroids.” Compton’s Encyclopedia Online. The Learning Company Inc. 1998.


c (November 23, 1999). “anabolic steroid use in order to increase

muscular development… has spread rapidly…”

“Anabolic steroids.” The Concise Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 3rd

edition. The Columbia University Press. 1994. (November 23, 1999)

“Abuse of anabolic steroids may lead to increased irritability…”

“Steroids.” 98 Desk Encyclopedia. Microsoft Corporation. 1997.

“A large group of naturally occurring or synthetic lipids with a wide

range of physiological activity.”

Clark, Cooper, and Griffen. “An Old Problem.” Congressional Quarterly

Researcher July 26,1991: 525. “Athletes have taken natural or

synthetic performance aids since the earliest days of organized sports

competition. “


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