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The attraction for steroid usage finds its underlying reasons in the psychological segments.  The short-term benefits range from an immediate physical change to be followed by the initial perk of emotions.  This quick and seemingly easy transformation is the appeal that draws the attention of many professional athletes.  As the athlete ages, the race to maintain their competitive edge on upcoming stars, also makes steroids an attractive package.  However, along with the short ups are the downs that are seen in the long run.

The long-term negative effects do not make the short-term perks more appealing or plausible.  Performing-enhancing drugs may help athletes excel in their career, but deteriorate them in the long run.Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, and Barry Bonds, are all names in the headlines in the speculation of sports performance-enhancing drugs. Was it arthritis balm or truly steroids?  The truth will be difficult to reveal, but the short-term benefits were obvious to the observant fan. “Fans want to see bigger-than-life people clearly performing at a level that the vast majority of humans can’t imagine.

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That’s what sells, and the pro leagues want to deliver what sells” (Rozin 2005).  Steroids make immediate impacts on the three major aspects of any sport: speed, strength, and stamina.  Though steroids do not improve a players ability to hit a baseball, it drastically increases one’s strength and decreases one’s recovery period.  Steroid expert Dr. Charles Yesalis of Penn State University remarks, “Professional sports are like Gumby-they’ll bend any way their customers want, and their customers like what steroids do” (Rozin 2005).

  Despite the business impact, the number one factor in attracting someone to steroids is the sale of a freaky, super muscular physique.While exact numbers are not known, it is estimated that 700,000 high school students have experimented with anabolic steroids (Burnett and Kleiman 1994).  Approximately two-thirds of which began using by the age of sixteen.  Both addictive and habitual usage practices have been noted in adult and teenage users.  These are often observed in those that use the “stacking” technique (Burnett and Kleiman 1994).  That practice entails the use of multiple steroids at once.  Along side addictive behaviors, psychotic symptoms have occurred that are characterized by impulsive, aggressive, and violent bursts (Burnett and Kleiman 1994).  Adolescent users are among the groups to be more vulnerable to the adverse psychological and physical side effects.

  Despite the undesirable side effects, many young users believe that are still achieving the wanted physical changes without undue harm to their psychological well being (Burnett and Kleiman 1994).Long-term negative effects are those such as health issues and public relations. Steroids are an unnatural substance manufactured by humans.  They are fake hormones patterned after the male sex hormones required for changing the male voice, muscle size, and hair growth (Laliberte 2005). Altering the internal components of the body can have unpleasant affects such as liver and kidney tumors, cancer, and severe acne (Laliberte 2006). The most controversial playing field feeling the heat of steroid usage is baseball.  Fans will be fans and will continue to support the sport.  But, the athlete that uses performance enhancers, mainly steroids, projects a negative image of the sport and the institutions.

  Baseball has recently come under major scrutiny in connection to steroid usage and the possibility of records being broken.  Rozin notes, baseball has become an area where talents are honors based on a false sense of hard work brought forth from the use of performance enhancers.  “The records will be tainted,” Althaus said.

“You aren’t going to see asterisks next to the home run records of Mark McGuire and Barry Bonds, but in the fan’s minds, one will always be there.” Some reason that the delay of Major League Baseball to address the steroid problem is contributed to the influence of the dollar.  In the eyes of the different club owners, the players are pawns in the game of the business.Players tend to disregard the negative affects that could have debilitating consequences.  For example, a young man by the name of Brad Cunningham was an up and coming amateur body builder from North Texas.  After complaining of severe headaches and chest pain, he fell a total of three different times prior to the paramedics being called (Llosa 2006).  To everybody’s amazement, he was an anabolic steroid user.

  His healthy ambition and competitive drive led him down the dangerous path that changed his life forever.  After his heart stopping and being revived after the ninth shock to his heart, he was given a zero chance of survival (Llosa 2006).  Dr.

John Bret, heart specialist who treated Cunningham, stated, “There was significant heart damage.  You just don’t see that kind of damage in a young, healthy person.  Steroid use was definitely a factor” (Llosa 2006).

The fact is that professional athletes, by choice or not, are role models for younger people and especially aspiring athletes.  Six per one hundred twelfth grade males have used some form of a steroid to achieve a physical look or strength for a sport (Laliberte 2006).  Estimated by Mike Arndt, the strength coach for the Texas Rangers baseball team is that 15 to 22 percent of players were using “illegal substances” (Reilly 2000).

  During the time period that Ted Williams hit his 521 homeruns, he was listed at 180 pounds and 6 feet 3 inches tall (Reilly 2000).  From this to the 40 plus year old Barry Bonds that packs on an impressive twenty pounds of muscle in the off-season dampens the spirit of the elusive chase to become the home run champion or record holder.Steroid substitutes are another area of anabolic performance enhancers sought after to avoid the risks of consuming steroids.

  The fact is that they are just as dangerous as steroids themselves.  These substitutes must be labeled as dietary supplement as they are not true drugs and are deemed a food category.  One supplement being used in Europe is clenbuterol (Ropp 1992).  It is an anabolic product, the same quality advertised by steroids, but is used by animal trainers to build muscle mass and strength in livestock (Ropp 1992).  Just as steroids have negative side effects, so too does this particular substitute.  After ingesting the supplement, people were noted as having fast heart rates, muscle tremors, headaches, dizziness, nausea, fever, and chills (Ropp 1992).  Symptoms presented themselves from thirty minutes to six hours after ingesting the steroid substitute and lasted as long as two days (Ropps 1992).Another alternative steroid used by teenagers and athletes of all levels is Gamma hydroxybutyric acid or GHB (Ropp 1992).

   The claim is that it helps to naturally stimulate production of human growth hormone which, in turn, promotes muscle mass and weight loss (Ropp 1992).  However, an observed side effect is that rapidly induces sleep and suppress the central nervous system (Ropp 1992).  In the November 1990 issue of the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, eighty cases of hospitalization were reported in relation to the use of GHB (Ropp 1992).  Patients noted symptoms within fifteen to sixty minutes of ingesting it.  The symptoms included vomiting, drowsiness, dizziness, tremors, slowed heart rate, lowered blood pressure, and breathing difficulties (Ropp 1992). Therefore, the use of steroid alternatives is not any safer than the use of steroids themselves.

  Both are inherently dangerous with adverse side effects.Therefore, sports performance-enhancers such as steroids do provide short-term benefits.  They lead to an eye appealing muscular physique with a dramatic increase in immediate strength, stamina, and speed.  Kevin Towers, the general manager of the San Diego Padres was quoted as saying, “A big, big year means a big, big contract” (Reilly 2000).  However, the long term affects that include possible heart failure, possible tumors, and testicular atrophy are often over looked for the short burst.

  Despite the initial benefits, the future consequences should be considered seriously.  True, fans do spend more money to see the record-breaking event take place, but they do not enjoy history being tainted by scientifically created drugs.  The major question of illegal substances and its place in sports: Is a million dollars worth dying at 35? 

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