Anabolic steroids have been in use for a considerable length of time either by sportsmen and women or other individual groups. The main reason why it has been used in sports is to improve muscle strength and hence boost performance, for instance in athletics. The intake trend of steroids among other sections of the population has equally increased. Moreover, it is a known fact that anabolic steroids have the potential to affect an individual’s health. Whether taken orally or through injections, steroids can potentially lead to cardio-vascular related complications, stroke, and higher risk related to liver complications. The worst of these negative effects are evident when sports personalities use anabolic steroids to improve their performance in sports. Nonetheless, as it will be observed later in this essay, the negative effects of this drug to sportsmen and women downplay the relevance of sporting. In this essay, I will prove that steroids, including those legally available, are harmful and should be banned from all competitive sports.
Use of anabolic steroids in sports
For a considerable length of time, steroids have been used in sports to boost performance through increasing the strength of muscles. This has especially been common with athletes and body builders. The fact this drug has been used for such purposes, some of which legally does not imply that it is a safe and harmless substance. In fact, the consumption of anabolic steroids has been banned in local and international sports due to the argument that it gives an unfair advantage to those who use them against those who don’t. Nevertheless, the worst health effect it has on the athletes is even much more worrying than the competition part of it.
The continued use of anabolic steroids has been found to increase an individual’s weight at a very high rate (Yesalis 231). While weight gain itself may not seem to be a big deal, the side effects which come along with this characteristic are devastating to an athlete. To begin with, it should be understood that weight gain is highly contributed by accumulation of unused fats in our metabolic systems. Excessive fat is equally lethal to the athlete’s health due to the fact that the blood vessels will be thickened making it cumbersome for blood to flow smoothly through the body system. This implies that with time, the athlete may develop high blood pressure due to constrained flow of blood. In spite of the fact that muscles are enhanced, the side effects outdo the perceived benefits of using anabolic steroids.
As the athlete begins to use anabolic steroids to boost the strength of his or her muscles, there are visible and positive results in regard to performance. An athlete or body builder at this initial level seemingly enjoys the benefits of muscle strength. However, it should be noted that this is done due to the influence of a drug contrary to the normal body conditions and abilities. Sufficient medical results has revealed that persistent use of anabolic steroids will eventually lead to weakening of the tendons which are vital components in maintaining the rigidity and strength of muscles (Yesalis 231). Sincerely speaking, the short term benefits which can be accrued with the use of anabolic steroids is far much below the devastating long term health effects expected. The best way to go is to ban the use of anabolic steroids in sports; whether the sample has been legalized or not.
Anabolic steroids have been known to damage liver substantially. Regular use of this drug has an adverse effect to the health of the athlete (Taylor 61). A damaged liver will on the other hand hamper the performance of the athlete, a footballer or even that body builder. Indeed, a sports person who has poor health will not perform well in competitions. If anabolic steroids can damage the liver, then it is of no use for it to be allowed in sports.
There is a wide array of health related complications associated with the use and abuse of anabolic steroids. It is high time the use of this substance is banned completely to avert a looming crisis in sports. According to Freedman (53), there are reports that indicate that there is a possibility that the steroids may lead to psychiatric dysfunction to the sports users. If an athlete is mentally affected owing to the use of this drug, he or she may not be able to perform well in sports. Our psychological well being means everything we do. If ones mental capacity is affected, then no good thing may come from such a person. This is the reason why a total ban on the use of anabolic steroids in sports should be instituted if sanity will have to prevail in our society. Moreover, there is an indication by research that the abuse of anabolic steroids may bring about aggression among other serious effects. These may include the signs that can result in to violence. There have also been observations that have been made through research that those people who use these drugs may undergo suffering of impaired judgment, paranoid jealousy, as well as extreme irritability. These are all negative values which cannot be tolerated in sporting.
Not only should anabolic steroids be prohibited in sporting because of the negative effects it has on the health of an individual, but this drug equally derails the honor and integrity of sports as a whole. Whereas sporting activities is an endowment and celebration of our physical well being and ability, the use of performance enhancing drugs like anabolic steroids is a big blow and a real disappointment because it creates a negative impression of human ability while the natural state of performance in sports is greatly cherished. Every player has often yearned for victory no matter what it cost to achieve that (Lenehan 60). Moreover, the loss of integrity in sports and lack of authenticity will indeed work against the natural values and celebration that sporting activities has brought from one generation to another
Lack of fair play ground
The use of anabolic steroids to enhance performance also demeans the spirit and effort of those athletes or body builders who do not use the very drugs to boost performance. Performance can equally be negatively affected with the use of this drug (Lin 68). Research has shown that anabolic steroids have been abused even by body builders as a way of cheating to excel in their career (Shohov 57). In order for people to continue valuing sports in general, and fair play it is necessary to ensure that no competitor wins unfairly against the other. Moreover, the use of anabolic steroids will lead to breaking of important sports records which in the long run will make the entire sports competition to lose meaning and value. It is therefore imperative that some sanity is restored in the sports by completely outlawing the use of both legal and illegal anabolic steroids.
Support for Prohibition
The other reason why anabolic steroids should be banned in sports is due to the fact that even sports organizations have identified the challenge. While some of the anabolic steroid samples may be legal in the market, the use of these drugs in sports has caused a serious concern by sporting organizations that have made a step further to institute anti-doping agencies and regulations to curb the menace which has spilled beyond the use of steroids alone for boosting performance but also amphetamines (Major League Base ball 52). For instance, the International Olympic Committee has blacklisted some of the banned drugs in sports. Other organizations like World Anti-Doping Agency and the National Basket association have followed suit to create a drug free zone in the sporting arena. It is indeed high time for governments to take further steps and stern action towards a total ban of anabolic steroids.
The role played by sports in our society cannot be overstated. It is through sports that we exercise our bodies and in return improve our individual health. Moreover, sports are meant to inspire people to be outstanding in performance through resilience and hard work. Additionally, sports play a vital role of ensuring that we remain determined and focused even as we pursue to break records. Unfortunately, these values will all be eroded if the use of anabolic steroids is not brought to an end. The use of this performance enhancing substance demeans these natural values of sports which are definitely valued by all and sundry. I therefore vehemently oppose the use of anabolic steroids in sports so that the society can continue celebrating its invaluable contribution.
Freedman, Jeri. Steroids: High-Risk Performance Drugs. New York: Rosen Publishing Group Inc 2009
Lenehan Pat. Anabolic steroids: and other performance-enhancing drugs. New York: Taylor & Francis Inc. 2003
Lin C and Erinoff Geraline Lynda. Anabolic Steroid Abuse Research Monograph 102, Rockville: National institute of drug abuse, 1990
Major League Base ball. Baseball Gets Tough with New Steroid Policy Jet Magazine – 108 (23), Johnson Publishing Company, 2005.
Shohov P Serge. Advances in Psychology Research, Volume 18 New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2004.
Taylor N. William. Anabolic steroids and the athlete (2nd ed). North Carolina: McFarland & company Inc., 2002
Yesalis Charles. Anabolic steroids in sport and exercise (2nd ed.), New York: Versa Press, 2000