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Steroids in Sports

Updated on March 25, 2014

Facts About Steroids

“During the 1930’s scientist discovered that anabolic steroids could facilitate the growth of the skeletal muscle in laboratory animals. This discovery led to the abuse of steroids by body builders, basketball players, football players, and wrestlers” (White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, 2007, para. 2).

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (2007) stated, “The intended use of steroids were for delayed puberty, types of impotence, wasting of the body caused by HIV infections; and hypogonadism, a condition in which the testes do not produce sufficient testosterone for normal growth and sexual functioning” (para. 1).

Anabolic steroids are also often used in patterns called cycling, stacking, and pyramiding. ONDCP (2007) stated:

Cycling is a process in which multiple doses of steroids are taken over a specific period of time, it is then stopped for a period of time, and then it is started over again. Frequently, athletes combine several types of steroids in a process called stacking, by stacking athletes believe that different steroids will interact to produce an effect on muscle size that is greater than the effects of using each drug individually. Another process in which athletes slowly escalate steroid use in by reaching a peak amount at mid-cycle and gradually tapers the dose towards the end of the cycle is called pyramiding. (para. 3-4)

Performance-enhancing drugs are endangering the lives of many athletes, especially wrestlers. The physical effects of steroids in men and women can cause irritability and aggression. ONDCP (2007) stated:

Females and males can develop liver cancer, heart attacks, and elevated cholesterol. Athletes that inject steroids are at risk of contracting and transmitting symptoms. After the athlete has stopped taking the drug(s), the athlete can have symptoms that include: mood swings, fatigue, restlessness, loss of appetite, insomnia, reduced sex drive, and depression. Depression can lead to suicide attempts and if left untreated can persist for a year or more after the abuser stops taking the drugs. (para. 9-10)

Medical experts say wrestlers are 12 times more likely to have a heart attack than any other athlete in sports with steroids, painkillers, and other drug abuse. Steroids are any substances used to enhance athletic performance. Dolan (1987) stated:

Athletes use steroids to keep up with the competition since so many athletes are using steroids. The effects of steroids range from increasing muscle size, strength, decreasing fatigue, temporary weight gain, inhibited growth, and even simple pain relief. Athletes believe the more pills or injections they take the stronger, the faster, and better their performance will be when competing but this is not always true. Steroids could permanently damage the heart, liver, stunt growth, and change sexual characteristics. (para. 3)

Leslie (2005) stated, “Steroids have and will continue to kill athletes at very young ages” (para. 1). Eddie Guerreo, a former World Wrestling Entertainer, was found dead in a Minneapolis hotel on November 13, 2005. Eddie Guerreo had just celebrated his fourth anniversary of sobriety from drug and alcohol addictions that nearly ended his marriage and career. The autopsy report stated that he died of an enlarged heart, which was a result of the long years of steroid abuse. Eddie Guerreo is not the only athlete in the World Wrestling Enterprise (WWE) that has died of an enlarged heart. Wrestlers Curt “Mr. Perfect” Hennings, Rick Rude, Terry Gordy, Junk yard dog, Andre The Giant, and Miss Elizabeth are all but a few wrestlers that have died steroid related deaths.

Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan lashed out at the industry that made him a megastar. Hogan demanded an end to the decades-long cover up of steroid abuse in the WWE. Hogan, 54, took the muscle-enhancing drug almost daily for 16 years during his career and says he can spot a user a mile off. More than 100 wrestlers have died before the age of 50 in the last decade. Hogan is begging others to face up to the crisis. The Sun, has been leading an anti-steroid abuse campaign since the suicide of Chris Benoit. A handful of former stars have already spoken out and prompted United States (U.S.) politicians to start investigating the WWE. But many in the WWE, the world’s biggest fight franchise, deny there is a problem and have blasted their ex-colleagues as bitter failures who have not wrestled in years. They cannot say the same about Hulk Hogan. In an exclusive Sun interview Hogan stated, “Are steroids a problem in wrestling? Oh, God, yeah. They have always been a part of the business.”

Professional wrestlers such as Eddie Guerreo and Chris Benoit were regarded as heroes and role models for as long as they had been wrestling. Wrestlers attaining this status must accept the role and responsibility that accompanies stardom, whether they want the role or not. Not every athlete that succeeds in sports use performance-enhancing drugs; it is entirely possible to achieve a goal without resorting to drugs.

Dolan (1987) stated:

Yet , women and men are still willing to risk their health and lives in order to win and stay competitive in the world of sports. Steroids have also been linked to causing some forms of cancer. Due to these hazards, many performance-enhancing drugs have been banned in national and international sports. Although these drugs have been banned, this does not mean that athletes do not take them. (para. 5)

The number of players abusing drugs in the National Football League (NFL) is increasing every year. Drug abuse in the NFL has recently focused around recreational drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and alcohol. The commissioner, Roger Goodell, and his personal need to not enforce the NFL’s policy, will wait until many more players start to die before he tightens up their drug policies. The NFL can stop most of these problems by having random drug test and enforcing stricter punishments.

Luis Castillo, Northwestern Defensive Tackle, took steroids in the 2004 football season. Steroids his draft stock to first-round status. The only punishment Luis Castillo received was a maximum of 24 drug test per year for the duration of his career. What was so bad about it is that the NFL excused and congratulated him by saying, “he is a great kid and he has been forthcoming.” This is exactly why athletes will continue to do what they want to do.

Rafael Palmeiro of the Baltimore Orioles was suspened 10 days for “not intentionally taking steroids.” This is a prime example of why steroids are being taking lightly in the sports industry. There are people with in the sports industry that could enforce stricter laws and punishment. But no one is willing to enforce rules and policies. Why? It is all about the money.

In the U.S., it has been illegal for more than a decade to sell or even possess steroids. However, it is up to the individual professional sports leagues to set its own steroid policies. In 2003, a federal investigation into the alleged sale of steroids to professional athletes by a nutritional supplement company in California called the Bay Area Laboratory Cooperative (BALCO) led to a grand jury case in which several prominient athletes were summoned to testify. The athletes included New York Yankee Jason Giambi and San Franscscio Giant Barry Bonds, the reigning National League (MVP).

In December of 2004, the San Francscio Chronicle published accounts of leaked grand jury testimony from the BALCO case. According to the Chronicle, Giambi had admitted to knowingly using steroids and Bonds said he had use substances that contained steroids, but he had not realized at the time that the substances contained steroids.

Steroids should be banned but also steroid abusers should be banned. Reason being is that athletes are a major impact on teenagers; especially teenagers that play sports in school, and that would like to one day go into professional sports. What athletes are saying to their younger audience of fan(s), that want to be just like them, is that it is all right to do drugs and cheat their way through life. When athletes give these types of impressions to their admirers; their admirers are going to want to do the same thing.

Monitoring the Future Study (2006) stated, “ Recent studies and surveys have proven that 1.6% of eight graders, 1.8% of tenth graders, and 2.7% of twelfth graders reported using steroids at least once in their lifetimes” (para. 5)

Denise Garibaldi is one of the parents who testified at the White House steroid hearing in March 2007. Her son, Rob Garibaldi, was a former high school baseball player who killed himself at the age of 17. Rob Garibaldi took steroids to increase his chances of becoming a professional player. In his mind, he did what baseball players like Canseco, McGwire, and Bonds are believed to have done. Rob Garibaldi said, “I am a ballplayer. This is what ballplayers do. If Bonds has to do it, then I must.”

If steroids are banned and athletes are continuing to use steroids and other drugs for enhancement then where do we draw the line for athletes who will continue to take drugs? Paying fines, suspending athletes, and having them go through some type of drug rehabilitation is not enough. The law enforcement need to show athletes that drugs in sports will not be tolerated and by giving this example we are showing teenagers that have not yet begun to play sports that there are consequences when it comes to drug abuse.

Talk About Steroids in Sports

© 2014 Shakka James


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    • Shakka James profile imageAUTHOR

      Shakka James 

      4 years ago from Dallas, TX

      Thank you so much for your comments. I hope you will like the next few hubs I post!

    • mgeorge1050 profile image


      4 years ago from West Georgia

      Those statistics about wrestlers are jaw dropping. I hope steroids have been banned from the sport. Great article, keep it up.

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Well done! Voted up and interesting!


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