, Research Paper
THE USE OF STEROIDS BY ATHLETES
Steroids are drugs that many athletes use to enhance their abilities in sports. The use of
steroids can be dangerous to both your body and mind. The drug also can give athletes unfair
advantages which could propel them to victory. The use of steroids should not be permitted
in any type of sporting event.
What is a steroid? Steroids are a synthetic version of the human hormone testosterone.
Testosterone stimulates and maintains the male sexual organs. It also stimulates the
development of bones and muscle, promotes skin and hair growth, and can influence emotions.
In males, testosterone is produced by the testes and the adrenal gland. In the 1930’s, researchers
first developed steroids to rebuild and prevent the breakdown of body tissues from disease. The
first use of steroids in sports was recorded in 1954 at the world championships in Vienna,
Austria (Snyder 72). Russian weight lifters were using steroids and were merely invincible in
their competition against other countries (Snyder 72). The U.S. coach asked the Russians how
they were accomplishing this, and they told him they were given steroids (Snyder 72). This
started the craze for steroids around the world especially in the United States (Snyder 72).
Many scientists believe it can increase strength and body size, but others believe that using the
drug makes you hostile and aggressive which makes you train harder therefore resulting in
gained body size and strength (Snyder 74). Many people that take them are athletes and people
with body image issues (Steroids). Others such as police officers and bouncers use them because they work in physical fighting environments (Steroids).
The use of steroids may cause many serious mental side effects. The drug produces a
change in the electroencephalogram, an image of the brain activity (Macmillan 94) . Mood swings are common which are caused by increased hostility and aggressiveness (Steroidsinfo). Some steroid users even go through violent, uncontrollable rages called ” Roid Rage ” (Snyder 69). Many steroid users feel depressed and do things they would never think of doing (Snyder 67). The most greatly affected emotions are agitation, euphoria, insomnia, and psychosis (Macmillan 95). Steroids may also cause maniac-like symptoms leading violent, even homicidal episodes. Depression often is seen when the drugs are stopped and may contribute to steroid dependence (Steroid Abuse). Users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irrability, delusions, and impaired judgement stemming form feelings of invincibility (Steroid Abuse). Some of these effects are not present at first, but after abusing this drug these symptoms may be irreversible.
Steroids may also cause many serious physical side effects that can be long or short term.
There are many short term effects from the use of steroids such as the development of acne,
deepened voice, and abnormal hair growth. Metabolism is weakened and levels of blood sugar increase, which worsens diabetes. The incidence of cataracts occurs in eyes. Thinning of the skin occurs and blood vessels near surface of skin become visible. Skin bruises more easily and wounds heal slowly (Mayo Clinic). Changes in the elevation of blood pressure are common. Steroids may be linked to the increased risk of gallstones (Macmillan 98). The short term effects are less serious than the long term effects. Steroids cause the formation of new bones to be inhibited and osteoporosis and joint damage occurs. The body produces fewer disease fighting antibodies, making you more susceptible to get sick (Mayo Clinic). If taken at an early age, steroids may stunt the growth in young people (Steroidsinfo). The three main problems that occur are adverse effects in the liver, cardio-vascular system, and reproductive system (Snyder 69). The effects on the liver are peliosis hepatitis blood filled cysts can weaken and eventually shut down the liver (Snyder 69). The effects on the cardio-vascular system are changes in cholesterol level, blood pressure level, and blood clotting problems occur which can cause heart attacks or strokes (Snyder 69). The final main problem that can occur with the use of steroids is in the reproductive system. The sperm count in males lowers, testes decrease in size, and natural testosterone decreases which can cause infertility (Snyder 70). Men also develop breasts, or called gynecomastia, as a counter action to the raised estrogen levels to try and balance out the outrageous testosterone levels. The increased risk of cervical and endometrial cancer is present in women who take steroids. A decrease in breast size is also attainable, all of these problems may also lead to the absence of fertility as in men. Women also experience masculine features such as a deepened voice and abnormal hair growth (Steroidsinfo).
The main problem I have with steroids is the use of the drug by athletes in sporting
events. I think you should not result to a drug just to take you to the next level. This gives
athletes a way to cheat or have an unfair advantage over other opponents. The main reason
athletes use steroids is to get strong and get strong quick. Steroids give the athletes increased
muscle mass, strength, endurance, and recovery rates (Steroidsinfo). Steroids also heighten the aggression of the user that improves their performance in their sport and makes them feel as if they are invincible which in return builds their confidence. The athletes who are
clean are the ones who are effected the most. If an athlete is using steroids, he or she will be
physically stronger than their opponent and would constantly be superior to them. This is unfair
because many athletes who have trained hard lose because of this superiority. Many gold
medals, championships, world records, and Hall of Famers have been achieved through this form
of cheating. But, not all of the athletes who use steroids get away with it. If they are tested
positive for it, they are banned from their sport. This puts shame on the athlete and the team he
or she represented.
The laws are starting to make the sentences for people who deal with illegal steroids and
similar drugs more strict. The courts are handing out stiff sentences to distributors that can last
from three to six years in jail and fines up to six figures. Many professional sports are making
drug tests mandatory for athletes to be screened for steroids. The Olympic Games are now closely monitored to prevent athletes who use steroids from participating. Ben Johnson found this out too late as he tested positive for steroids in the 1980’s Olympics. The National Football League has a strict testing policy in its training camps. Those who test positive must pay fines and be suspended, and bans for those who are repeat offenders. The National Collegiate Athletic Association, NCAA, has established much stricter measures for testing and disciplining steroids users (Mishra). In 1987 Brian Bosworth, an Oklahoma Sooner football player, tested positive for steroids and was banned from playing in the Orange Bowl (Snyder 65).
In the summary of my paper, the use of steroids by athletes is a very risky business
that I do not want to be a part of. Some student athletes feel so pressured to succeed in their
sport, they resort to steroids for help. Many young people are so concerned with the desire to make the football team or impress peers that they forget about the possible damage of their vital organs. Is it really worth all the short term health effects and the possibility of long term permanent damage? Is it really worth the disgrace of being eliminated from competition, or even being arrested? These are some questions many athletes should ask themselves if they ever decide to try steroids. After taking a long, hard look at the facts, most athletes with any sense at all will shy away from this drug. Many celebrities are trying to let the public know the dangers of
steroids such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jesse Ventura. Most recently, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) placed steroids in the same regulatory category as cocaine, heroin, LSD, trying to prove that it is just as critical and habit forming as other illegal substances (Mishra). I hope this paper has enlightened you about steroids and that you will never try them because even though steroids looks like an easy way to get big fast, just remember, steroids may give you mored than you ever had bargained for.