According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (USA) Each day, more than 8,000 kids try an illegal drug for the first time. One in four 12th graders is a current drug user; among 8th graders, the rate is approximately one in ten. Also, an increasing number of youth are illegally using steroids to enhance athletic performance. Performance-enhancing drugs pose a significant risk to the health of athletes, especially young ones.
Something we should be concerned before the craze hits this community. We have been addressing the use of narcotics in this community and yet sports drugs (steroids) are something our athletes are not aware of.
Below are some side effects of doping with steroids.
- cancer of the liver, prostate, kidney
- reduction in HDL the "good" cholesterol
- high blood pressure
- enlarged prostate
- liver damage
- aggressive behavior
- post-use depression
- aching joints
- injury to tendons, ligaments, and muscles
- blood coagulation disorders
- HIV disease from sharing needles
- acne, swelling of feet or ankles
- reduced libido
- increased sex drive
- increased fatty deposits
- heart arrhythmia's
- stunted growth in immature individuals
- breast growth in males
- reduced sperm count
- shrinking of the testicles
- body hair growth in female
- masculinization, clitoral enlargement and breast reduction in females
Why athletes use steroids …
Most of them use steroids as they believe that steroids will give them a winning edge, in developing strength, power, muscle growth and recovery from intense workouts.
Fuller and LaFountain (1987) found that athletes rationalized their use by trying to justify that using steroids caused no harm either to themselves or to others. Also, individuals perceived their competitors were taking anabolic drugs, so they needed to use to compete at the same level.
Some individuals use steroids because they perceive that increased muscle mass improves their appearance (Yesalis, 1998).
Mottram (1996) has suggested that social norms about "bigger being better," feelings of inadequacy, and low self-esteem may influence the younger generation's use of steroids.
The sports world has gone so far that everything which matters for the athletes is winning, with or without drugs. Imagine the world most prestigious sporting event “Olympics” how many of us can identify athletes competing using performance enhancement drugs? Look at the Mr. Universe Bodybuilding Championships when the line up is made how many of us can identify athletes on steroids, when we watch the Tour De France cycling race we see the strength of the athletes but do we know how many of them are on drugs.
The use of steroid starts as a young athlete, therefore we as trainers, and parent need to be aware, we need to be in a position to explain our athletes the side effect and the harm which may cause to human body by using performance enhancement drugs.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has strict standards of testing for these substances when participating in any regional or international games, having a testing procedure to catch the culprits is not the solution, we need to educate our young athletes, to live and win drug free. We should not estimate that our community is totally free from sports drugs. We need to be alert before the deadly craze hit our young athletes.
1 -Sports Drug Review, Office of National Drug Control Policy (United States of America)
2 - Drugs in Sports Journal, Trinity College, Perth, Western Australia
3 - Sports Drug Review, Australian Sports Anti Doping Authority (ASADA)