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Performance Enhancing Drugs In Sports

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Performance Enhancing Drugs in Sports

Athletes risk their careers, health, and lives to cheat their way to the top. What happened to the true spirit of competition? Sports have now become "all about the Benjamins" as Sean "Diddy" Combs would say.

Players not only get paid ridicules amounts of money to play their sport, they also get a variety of endorsements. NBA players get the shoe deals; baseball players can get their own titled video game on Xbox; Olympians who win the gold end up on a box of Wheaties. The only way to get these deals though, is to be the very best, and it seems that athletes will do just about anything to become just that.

In order to be the best you have to be in the best of shape. It seems players no longer depend on their natural abilities to get them to the top. Now going to the gym, working out, and eating a healthy diet doesn't seem to be enough anymore. Using the over-the-counter stuff like protein shakes, creatine, vitamin supplements, and energy bars to help aid their workout is also not enough. They use performance enhancing drugs to give them that extra boost. Anabolic steroids are now being used to break records, win championships, and to win the gold at the Olympics.

What are anabolic steroids? Anabolic steroids are illegal, in the U.S., unless prescribed by a doctor. They are banned and tested for in most sports. The National Football League (NFL) and National Basketball Association (NBA) prohibit steroids and test for them. They elevate the body's testosterone, increasing muscle mass. Merriam-Webster's Medical Dictionary, Ð'© 2002 Merriam-Webster Inc. states, any of a group of usually synthetic hormones that are derivatives of testosterone, are used medically especially to promote tissue growth, and are sometimes abused by athletes to increase the size and strength of their muscles and improve endurance.

There are also very serious side effects from using these drugs. They can cause heart and liver damage, and endocrine-system (hormonal) imbalance. They can also cause elevated cholesterol levels, strokes, aggressive behavior, and genitalia dysfunction.

What effects do anabolic steroids have on the heart? Anabolic steroids cause enlargement of the heart in humans and test animals. These are the same changes in heart muscle that occur in chronic heart failure. For these reasons, when a young athlete experiences sudden death the body is often evaluated for steroid abuse. In one case report, a 21-year-old steroid abuser collapsed and died during a workout. The autopsy revealed an enlarged heart with areas of dead heart-muscle tissue. Medical authorities speculated that steroid abuse caused his heart muscle cells to grow faster than the blood vessel supply. This created an area of heart tissue with poor blood flow, leading to death of the new cells and a fatal heart attack. Taken from, Steroids and your heart-Steroid use and the heart, www.anabolicsmall.com/roidb8a.htm, 2005.

Despite death and the serious side effects of these drugs, athletes still take their chances to use them. In an interview with the Associated Press, Ken Caminiti, says taking steroids was not a mistake. ''I've made a ton of mistakes,'' said Caminiti, a recovering alcoholic and former drug user whose 15-year career ended last season. Caminiti played for both the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. ''I don't think using steroids is one of them." Caminiti says he won the 1996 Most Valuable Player award while on steroids. He also states he is not the only one using steroids. ''It's no secret what's going on in baseball. At least half the guys are using steroids. They talk about it. They joke about it with each other.'', says Caminiti.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big is a book by JosÐ"© Canseco that started the Congressional inquiry into steroids in Major League Baseball. The theme of the book, deals mostly with anabolic steroids and uses the personal experiences of Canseco to draw upon. He takes personal credit for introducing steroids into baseball, and believes he was blackballed by baseball when Bud Selig decided that the league needed to be cleaned up. One of Juice's main themes is that steroid use is not in fact a bad thing, as long as the person is being monitored by a physician, and the dosages are small. Canseco believes that steroids can improve the game of baseball, improve and lengthen our lives, and should not be discredited like they are now. Canseco discredits many of the myths regarding steroids, claiming that they do not break down a person's body if used correctly, and can actually help a person recover quickly from injuries.

The Wikipedia Encyclopedia also list Ben Johnson. He was an Olympian who was stripped of his gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics for steroid use. Johnson beat Carl Lewis in the 100m race making a new world record of 9.79 seconds; but he failed the urinalysis, samples were found to contain a steroid called stanozolol. In 1993, he was found guilty of doping at a race in Montreal, and was subsequently banned from the sport for life by the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations). Was it worth it? Could he have won the gold without it? How did it feel to win the gold

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