Athletes are competitive and have the motivation and drive in what they want to pursue, whether it is making a touchdown in a preseason game or winning the World Series. Sports have a responsibility to maintain a level playing field for the trial of skill (Bahrke, 4). Athletes compete with one another and also with themselves on their performance level. In the attempt to pursuing their goals, some athletes result in furthering their athletic career by taking Performance Enhancing Drugs such as Steroids, Amphetamines, and Androstenedione. Taking Performance Enhancing Drugs is not a recent discovery that was made in our society. In fact, the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs has been used for many centuries by many people worldwide ranging from the Romans to the West Africans. In a book written and edited by Michael S. Bahrke, he explains,
"The use of drugs and supplements by athletes to enhance performance and appearance is not new. The Berserkers of Norse mythology used buftoein for stimulating effects (Prokop, 1970). West Africans used Cola acuminita and Cola nitida for running competitions (Strauss & Curry, 1987). The ancient Greeks at hallucionogenic mushrooms and sesame sees to enhance performance (Wadler and Hainline, 1989). Roman gladiators used stimulants to overcome fatigue and injurt (Walter and Hailine, 1989). South American Natives have chewed coca leaves for centuries to increase endurance (Boje, 1939; Hoberman, 1992; Prokop, 1970)" (Bahrke, 4).
Though Performance Enhancing Drugs have been around for centuries, with the advancement in science we have today, we are also able to conclude that by taking these illegal substances, athletes are also taking huge risks factors that will not only endanger their lives, but also affect the lives of others also. With the competitiveness of other athletes and gaining stronger athletic skills and abilities, athletes are pressure to use Performance Enhancing Drugs to help them perform better and quicker in their game. The consequences of using Performance Enhancing Drugs can lead to shorter life span and also infertility in women. Taking Performance Enhancing Drugs can also change the perspective and view people attain of the athlete when they find out that the athlete is using Performance Enhancing Drugs. Especially when the athlete is someone that the individual looks up to as role models, it becomes crucial. It defeats the idea of the athletes showing strong integrity in working and achieving their goals on their athletic career and lifestyle. The result of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs for athletes also results them to losing the athlete's contract and future careers (if they are in college or university) when large organizations leagues discover that the athlete is using Performance Enhancing Drugs. Athletes would lose their contracts not only with the organization, but also to sponsors and providers as well. Keeping drugs out of the athletic competition has been more and more difficult for sport organizations because of the amount of use and availability there is for many athletes because of the increase in popularity throughout the years. By taking Performance Enhancing Drugs, it creates an unfair advantage towards other athletes who do not take Performance Enhancing Drugs and harms the athlete's health.
Though the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs are used among many people, it is more common that athletes use a form of Performance Enhancing Drugs to enable them to increase muscle mass and strength or to move quicker and faster. The effects caused in your body when using Performance Enhancing Drugs are anabolic effects and androgenic effects. Both involve effects in the hormones that help boost athletic performance which is why the frequent use to Performance Enhancing Drugs is commonly used in athletes. The benefits athletes gain from taking Performance Enhancing Drugs not only allow them to perform faster and be stronger in their athletic ability, but also help pursue in excessive workouts and training. Athletes are able to train and workout more than they are normally able to when Performance Enhancing Drugs. This allows athletes to work more than other athletes that don't use Performance Enhancing Drugs without feeling tired or overworked with the excessive amount of training and condition they do to gain strength and mass. From an article from mayoclinic.com, it states,
"Besides making muscles bigger, anabolic steroids may help athletes recover from a hard workout more quickly by reducing the muscle damage that occurs during the session. This enables athletes to workout harder and more frequently without overtraining. In addition, some athletes may like the aggressive feelings they get when they take the drugs." (Mayo Clinic, par. 6).
Many athletes decide to use Performance Enhancing Drugs in order to help them further their career or to help them perform better in their games and activities. By being able to work harder and train more without feeling overwhelmed or exhausted, impacts the athletes to use Performance Enhancing Drugs to get ahead of the game. Even though this may not be the case for some athletes, the ability to stay in shape from the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs perceives athletes to make the decision. Although this helps athletes in training and help stay in fit, athletes may also suffer from using mass quantities of Performance Enhancing Drugs in order to stay in shape and to be fit. It would no longer help the athlete in moving forward, but it would become more of a reliance on the drug to help them perform faster and better when athletes take Performance Enhancing Drugs. Taking Performance Enhancing Drugs also have many side effects in which would hurt the athlete through the long term use of the substances that can affect their life, career, and health.
The purposes of Performance Enhancing Drugs like anabolic-androgenic steroids such as Transdermal Testosterone, Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), Trenbolone, are to help create stronger and better body performance when they play on the field. There are also risks factors into taking Performance Enhancing Drugs whether it may benefit your performance or lifestyle. Taking Performance Enhancing Drugs will result in many changes throughout an athlete's body with the long term use of drugs in their (body) system. It can lead to undesirable gender effects for both men and women, such as shrunken testicles, growth of breasts, infertility in men, while women may have grow into a deep voice, have large amount of body hair, and have irregularities in their menstrual cycle and possible baldness (Mayo Clinic, par. 2). Though the benefits of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs may help an athlete on the field, the long term effects of using Performance Enhancing Drugs are not worth taking to further in their athletic career. By taking Performance Enhancing Drugs, athletes can also result into dehydration because of the chemicals used in the drugs to help enhancing the body systems.
The idea of getting rid of fluids from the body can cause dehydration from the excessive loss in fluid and in weight. Dehydration can cause a number of other potentially dangerous side effects, including electrolyte imbalances such as potassium deficiency, muscle cramps, dizziness, extremely low blood pressure, exhaustion and heart problems. If left untreated, these conditions can be fatal. (Mangan, par. 4).
Many people believe that the choice of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs will only affect and harm the athletes that choose to use them. Most of what we do not realize is that the long term effects of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs can actually result in harming their children. In an article report from Dr. Gabe Mirkin's Fitness and Health E-Zine, it says,
In the 1970s and 80s, almost all government sponsored East German athletes were forced to take anabolic steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs. A study of 69 children of 52 of these athletes showed that seven had birth defects and four were mentally retarded, an unusually high incidence for a group of this size. More than 25 percent had allergies and 23 percent had asthma. The women suffered 32 times the normal incidence of miscarriage and stillbirth, 25 percent suffered cancer and 61 percent had therapy for mental disorders. (Mirkin, par. 2).
We are aware that taking steroids can cause liver damages, heart attacks, strokes, and infertilities, but we are unaware that the long term effects can possibly lead to birth defects. Also, new side effects that were recently discovered show that there is more loss than benefit for athletes that use performance enhancing drugs. In a study done by Dr. Robert Weatherby, his studies revealed that using anabolic steroids not only weakens the immune system, but have increasingly exposure to viral infections and cancer. His studies also concluded:
The researchers also found that steroids could cause a change in the users' psychology, reducing their empathy for other people, and making them less sensitive to the effect of their actions on others. Unlike other drugs, which merely alter mood for a short time, this new evidence indicates steroids may cause a change to human personality, which is normally stable throughout life - a result that has potential implications for those convicted of criminal offences related to so called "roid rage" (Medical News, par. 5).
The immense reaction and behavior changes from an athlete may be caused by taking Performance Enhancing Drugs. Many people believe that by taking Performance Enhancing Drugs, the individual that chooses to take it are only hurting themselves. However, by taking Performance Enhancing Drugs can also affect the relationship and lifestyle of the individual's life and also the people in them. The relationship between their families may change due to the changes in the person's personality and behavior. Maintaining a relationship involves stability which athletes who choose to take Performance Enhancing Drugs are altered because of the behavior changes and mood swings that are in the substances they take in Performance Enhancing Drugs. It would be harder to maintain a relationship with others such as significant others, family members, and children to athletes that chose to take Performance Enhancing Drugs because of the aggressive behavior and behavioral changes that occur when taking Performance Enhancing Drugs.
The use of Performance Enhancing Drugs have become more and more popular and among many athletes. Performance Enhancing Drugs are recognized by the sport organizations such as the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA), and Major League Baseball (MLB). The use of Performance Enhancing Drugs are used and taken more by athletes now than the time when Performance Enhancing Drugs emerges and was vastly known to our society. The consequences of using drugs while on the team are more severe and the governing bodies like the NFL, NBA, and MLB are taking drastic measures and having stricter policies when they discover an athlete uses Performance Enhancing Drugs. Orginazations have a close eye on athletes when they are on the field and make sure they withstand the strict policy on Performance Enhancing Drugs. The consequences for athletes who take Performance Enhancing Drugs give up so much of what athletes believe they gain in performing better on the field. The NFL concluded that athletes will be suspended after testing positive will, for the first time, forfeit a portion of their signing bonuses in addition to the salary they will lose during their time away (ESPN, par. 2). The NFL's new policy makes sure athletes would second guess and would choose not to take Performance Enhancing Drugs because it will result them into losing what they make by playing on the field. In the article to test for more Performance Enhancing Drugs on NFL players, it also states:
"A baseball player who tests positive for steroids is banned for 50 games for a first violation. A player who tests positive for stimulants is required to undergo counseling for a first violation and is subject to at least six additional tests over the next year...The NBA also randomly tests players four times a season. Players who test positive for steroids or performance-enhancing drugs get a 10-game suspension for a first offense, a 25-game ban for a second offense, a one-year suspension for a third offense and disqualification if they're caught a fourth time" (ESPN, par. 6).
Organizations believe that in having stricter policies and severe consequences would help reduce the numerous amounts of athletes that chose to take Performance Enhancing Drugs. It also includes allowing athletes to accomplish furthering their career and gaining skills and performances without the use of drugs. By having random tests done by sport leagues, it would allow efficiency in knowing that their players would not use Performance Enhancing Drugs and also to include moral value and integrity in the skills athletes have and performances they present on the field.
Professional athletes, even those who are not playing at the professional level (such as college football, basketball, and baseball) are not only players on a team, but also role models and inspirations leaders to many individuals in our society. Athletes are represented to be strong and talented. Many people, especially younger children, look up to athletes in setting an example of striving for success, motivation, and to reach their goal and dreams. Though the consequences of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs are severe in the professional league by the organizations, the example and role athletes represent and show are also altered among their beloved fans. Not only do the athletes lose records and contracts among the organizations, but it also questions the moral value and integrity that an athlete has by taking Performance Enhancing Drugs.
Former professional cyclist, Lance Armstrong, was accused of taking illegal substances early in July of 2010 which created commotion and stirs among the accusations. Lance Armstrong was a public figure and also a meaningful character in our society as he is also a cancer patient fighting his ongoing treatments for his tumor growing in his brains and lungs. Though there is much controversy on whether he has cheated by taking Performance Enhancing Drugs, his fans and the public saw Armstrong in a different viewpoint. He was an inspiration to many people as he was fighting cancer and also continued to compete. He represented the idea that we should not give up and keep on fighting, but the accusations that said Armstrong have taken Performance Enhancing Drugs resulted the public to see Armstrong in a different figure other than the prestigious cyclist fighting cancer. Armstrong represents more than being a cyclist. In USA Today, journalist Christine Brennan, discusses the reaction among Armstrong's fans when they heard about the claims made of Armstrong in which she said,
That day, I simply mentioned the obvious -- that storm clouds were building over America's greatest untarnished sports icon as the feds moved closer -- but even then, the Lance faithful responded with a defense of their man the likes of which is usually reserved for a beloved son or brother. They do this for very good reasons. As one woman wrote in an e-mail, she has cancer, and Armstrong is her inspiration, so anything I said to even make her think he might have cheated ruined her day (Brennan, par. 3).
The impact athletes or any public figures have on people affects greatly on how they act or the things they do. The reaction of an athlete taking Performance Enhancing Drugs alters the view of how they see the athlete afterwards. It also represents and shows the characteristic an athlete has based on the choices they make in their career and in life. By choosing to take Performance Enhancing Drugs, it shows that athletes care to move forward and progress in their career but do not take in effect of what they will gain and lose when they take Performance Enhancing Drugs. Taking Performance Enhancing Drugs can also influence the children who look up to these athletes that are trying to aspire the same dream to become like their role model to also make the same choices they make. Many believe that by taking Performance Enhancing Drugs, it will only harm the health to the athletes that takes it, but affects many other people based on the choices they made.
Performance Enhancing Drugs are used more frequently now than they were used centuries ago for other purposes and also in sports. There are more people that are aware of the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs that it allows athletes to reconsider what they lose and gain from taking Performance Enhancing Drugs. The policies of Performance Enhancing Drugs used in athletic sports are more strict and enforced and the risks factors of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs are known to the public more about what it does and how it can harm an individual's health. Large organizations keep a close eye on athletes by taking frequent and unannounced tests to ensure that athletes are not using Performance Enhancing Drugs to help gain their performance level. In a recent study of substance abuse by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), an overall usage rate of 1.1% was found across all 3 of its divisions (Cheatham, par. 4). The research results of using Performance Enhancing Drugs have shown severe changes in an individual's behavior and physical changes. The aggressive behavior that is caused by the substances in the Performance Enhancing Drugs would not only endanger the individual who takes them but also the people around them such as their family members, children, team mates, etc. The side effects and the changes of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs, like other things, have a benefit and loss to it. Though by taking Performance Enhancing Drugs help athletes and other individuals to perform better and to look physically better, the consequences of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs are severe not only to the health of the individual but also in their career in professional. The choice of taking Performance Enhancing Drugs is the same as putting on a seat belt when driving, it is better to be safe than sorry.