Athletes And Performance Enhancing Drugs Essays Examples
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Many athletes around the world take their work seriously and realize that winning the game is the most important thing of all. Some athletes become so fiercely passionate about winning that they often tend to go beyond the reach of their natural set limits and wish to gain that supernatural, godly body strength that will help them win any game without facing any difficulties. This passion for winning is specifically enhanced when athletes go for games like the Olympics or any big matches in which players know that they will win a trophy or medals for their country. There are many other reasons associated with taking drugs. These include political pressure by governments on the team or athlete, the conviction in the athlete’s mind that other players are doing it too, extreme pressure from the media and fans to win the game or the anticipation of receiving a heavy financial reward after winning a certain game. This enhances the desire to go to any extreme for winning which includes the option of using performance enhancing drugs, which has become quite a common phenomenon.
What most athletes don’t realize when they make the decision of using performance enhancing drugs, is firstly the health risk involved in using these drugs for a certain game and secondly, the moral grounds of doing such a thing and losing the entire spirit of the game by cheating their way through to victory. (Gilbert, 18)
Using drugs to improve their performance is not a new thing invented by players; it has been used by many athletes and sportsmen since ancient times which is recorded back all the way up to the Greek and Roman civilizations, where athletes used to use mushrooms and various herbs to enhance their performance on the field. Later, the notion of taking drugs was extracted from the example of the soldiers of World War I and World War II who took certain Amphetamines and anabolic steroids to keep them alert and overly conscious and energetic during the war era. The result of using these drugs was, however, beneficial only for a limited span of time, where, in the long run, it caused the deaths of many athletes and players who took these performance enhancing drugs. (Goldman, n.pag).
There is a long list of drugs that have been banned from use in sports by athletes, majorly due to their deleterious effects on health and the unfair game they tend to put on the show. There are certain drugs that have been banned by the World Anti-doping Association (WADA) and they are strictly prohibited from use by any athlete, be he on any level; international, national, local or university athlete and the player himself, the coach and the health caregiver or doctor needs to know which drugs have been banned from use and cannot be administered for medication.
According to ‘Athletes Against Steroids’, young athletes are being reinforced and turning to use performance enhancing drugs, and many of them are also unaware of the dangers underlying the rampant use of these steroids and drugs. Many athletes become defenseless in front of their trainers or coaches in many situations and use these steroids under pressure. Worse, the dependency that these players have to face at the hands of using steroids is a more piteous situation. Athletes need to take steroids and then use them in larger doses just to keep their game up. (Harries, n.pag)
Sometimes if they have the notion that their competitor is using the drug as well, then they go in a pitfall of eventual and ultimate drug dependency. The duty lies in the hands of the doctors or medical practitioner who needs to inform the athletes about the nature of the steroid, its pros and cons and how the drug will affect their lives in the long run.
Before we get into the after effects of steroid use, one must know why athletes use them in the first place and what ‘enhancement’ occurs as a result of their usage. As the term implies ‘Performance Enhancing Drugs’ these drugs help to alter the metabolic and genetic makeup of the cellular and muscular material in the human body, enabling it to become more resistant, increase its stamina and become more enduring to stress. The drugs mainly used by professional players and athletes are called anabolic steroids. Stimulants, Diuretics, and human growth hormones are also used in various cases where the purpose may vary slightly.
Anabolic steroids are similar in the manufactured version of the male sex hormone testosterone and display the similar function to the hormone in the human body. The basic function of the anabolic steroids is to enhance the growth of skeletal muscles in the body, ake them stronger and larger, and boost the secondary sexual characteristics of males, both in the male and female body. This is also called the androgenic effect of anabolic steroids. These steroids were first produced to treat hypogonadism in individuals that suffered due to delayed puberty and did not develop their secondary sexual characteristics to the desired age.
When the use of these steroids in this condition proved fruitful, scientists concurred that they could enhance the development of skeletal muscle in humans, hence they could be used by athletes in sports. This led to the notion of steroid abuse.
Many of these anabolic steroids were sold and used illegally, administered in gyms and used by athletes without knowledge or permission of use. Many of these steroids are brought into the country by means of smuggling and kept at pharmacies. The use of these anabolic steroids helps to repair the muscle wear and tear during practice sessions and also since muscles are now bigger and more enduring, the athlete would not need to over-train or work harder during practice and it will be a win-win situation for them.
The other performance enhancing drug taken by athletes is known as the Human Growth Hormone or scientifically known as gonadotropin, which has a similar effect as anabolic steroids upon the muscles and is used by athletes in order to increase their muscle mass and performance during strenuous workouts and during any big game. The risk associated with this drug is the unsure effect it has on the body and its effectiveness in producing the desired anabolic effects yet it is used by athletes nevertheless, since it is a drug, and many would use it anyway, feeling conscious of winning by hook or by crook. (Sports and Drugs, n.pag)
Another performance enhancing drug that many athletes take is known as Erythropoietin, which was basically made to treat anemia in people with iron and red blood deficiencies. The drug was then taken to its abuse by athletes and players who believe muscular stamina and strength can be increased by better levels of hemoglobin which is why this drug is administered by some, which helps to increase the oxygen content in the blood thereby increasing stamina.
Diuretics are also a form of drugs taken by athletes, whose function is to alter the body’s fluid and water retention in the cells. This can sometimes lead to dehydration of the cells in some cases. However, the immediate function of the drug is reduction of weight of the user. This is preferred by athletes who wish to compete in games that require a less weight class and hence they take the diuretics to reduce their body mass to dangerously low levels. They also aid to help many athletes pass drug tests by dilating their urine and hence act as a mask agent.
Another supplementary drug taken by athletes is known as Creatine which is taken in a pill or powdered form of supplements. The function performed by Creatine is to increase the amount of energy that is produced by the muscles in order to perform various muscular activity. The human body produces about two grams of Creatine and much of it is supplemented from the daily intake of food taken by any individual. Taking an excess of Creatine in the diet is highly questionable and dangerous on many levels since it is a matter of health and bodily capacity to process and remove the excess Creatine.
Some athletes are prone to using Amphetamines and Caffeine as stimulants as performance enhancing drugs. The use of these is to increase heart rate and blood pressure and to stimulate the nervous system in order to enhance their performance in a game. Other stimulants such as Ephedrine and Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride are used to produce similar effects of stimulants that enhance the body’s physical endurance and activity. Many other athletes take energy drinks which contain high doses of caffeine and other stimulants that help to boost their endurance for practice and games. (Goldman, n.pag)
The question that lies here is if taking these performance enhancing drugs even worth it? There have been many long-term effects of these drugs that have been reported to cause the deaths of many athletes and players in the course of taking these drugs and many others have gone into the worst health states which are incurable and fatal. It is the responsibility not only of the athlete but also of the person who recommends and gives the drug to the user in the first place since it is a matter of life and death as well as ethics. (Gilbert, 18).
It has been seen in the past that there have been athletes caught and disqualified for taking performance enhancing drugs such as was the case with Rick Demont, a professional swimmer who took antiasthmatic medication before the tournament. He was unaware of the effects of the drug and the ingredients it carried; majorly Ephedrine, which was a stimulant and enhanced the body’s endurance. In Demont’s case, it was suggested that he carried an unfair advantage since his enhanced performance led to others’ honest efforts being sidelined.
It is not only that, but the various other side effects of drugs associated with performance enhancing drugs, that can be dangerous for their users. Using anabolic steroids can cause sexual health problems, acne in males and increased masculine characteristics and acne in women. The human growth hormone steroid can cause joint pains, muscular weakness, fluid retention, diabetes and heart problems. Diuretics can cause dehydration, muscle cramps, fainting, dizziness, potassium deficiency, heatstroke, heart problems and in the worst of cases they can prove fatal.
Using Creatine can cause cramps in the stomach, in the muscles, nausea, diarrhea and in the worse cases they can cause liver and kidney damage to the user. (Sports and Drugs, n.pag).
The more serious repercussions of using these drugs are the death of athletes that have occurred and can occur due to the use of performance enhancing drugs. Athletes such as weight lifters and body builders resort to steroid use due to the weight gaining advantage that they gain after use, even though, these drugs later deprive the body of its health. The worst case scenario that is death is often ignored by the coaches and the athletes who use these drugs. Sudden death during a game or match is unusual though it has taken place before. Twelve deaths occurred in six years amongst the joggers of Rhode Island, but due to various reasons those being heart disease, which would usually be expected by people who are prone to living unhealthy and inactive lives. (Harries, n,pag).
The question then boils down to the ethical aspect of the issue; should steroids be allowed to athletes for professional purposes or not. Examining the above issue and all the repercussions of the performance enhancing drugs case, steroids must not be allowed and used by athletes for professional uses. Not only are they harmful to their health and can prove fatal for them, but they also are unethical and against the sportsman spirit. Some drugs are surely banned by WADA, and they should be as well due to the unfair game they portray and spoil the image of the country whose player uses the drugs. History is filled with examples of players who have used drugs yet been disqualified for using them and banned for life. Hence, athletes who tend to improve their performance by using steroids or drugs need to give up the habit and work towards playing a fair and honest game and train themselves for the sport, rather than resort to unfair means.
Gilbert, Susan. The Biological Passport. The Hastings Centre Report. Jstor. Web. 18-19. 21 Feb,
Goldman, Leah. Business Insider. What athletes looked like before and after they used steroids.
Web. 8 June, 2013. N.pag. 21 Feb, 2015.
Harries, Mark. The Death of Athletes. British Medical Journal. Vol 290. 2 Mar, 1985. N.pag. 21
Sports and Drugs. Use of performance enhancing drugs. Web. 2014. N.pag. 21 Feb, 2015
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