USE OF STEROIDS IN SPORTS

ABSTRACT

My research topic was based on the use of steroids in sports. I wanted to know why athletes take steroids, which sports enhance the use of steroids and the side effects of using steroids. I wanted to find out what the athletes and the general people of Bangladesh thinks about using steroids in sports and do they approve the use of steroids in sports. My hypothesis was that use of steroids should be considered as cheating in sports and the use of steroids should not be made legal in sports. I also assumed that no one even the athletes don't approve the use of steroids in sports. My research paper was basically divided into two parts. They are primary research and secondary research. For my primary research I collected data by doing survey on a sample of 40 people. 20 of them were athletes from different sports club and the rest of them were student from different universities aged 16-29. Then I collected secondary data from secondary sources mainly from book.google.com, www.steroids.com and other sports and drugs related websites. After doing my research I found out that people don't want athletes to take steroids and participate in sports events. Even the athletes don't approve steroids in sports. They also think that it should be considered as cheating. No one wants steroids to be a legal substance in sports since it has a huge number of side effects which can end a life promising star.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................2 INTRODUCTION ..........................................................................................................................6 BACKGROUND.............................................................................................................................9 RESEARCH QUESTION .............................................................................................................13 HYPOTHESIS...............................................................................................................................14 METHODOLOGY........................................................................................................................15 DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS...............................................................................16 RESEACH FINDINGS..................................................................................................................33 CONCLUSION..............................................................................................................................34 WORKS CITED............................................................................................................................35

INTRODUCTION

The sports world was shocked when Canadian Ben Johnson was denied his gold medal at the 1988 Olympics after tests showed he had taken anabolic steroids. This incident called international attention to the use of anabolic steroids among world-class athletes to gain competitive advantage. Still, athletes and non-athletes persist in taking them. Teenagers are also taking anabolic steroids not just to succeed in sports but to enhance their self-images by perfecting their physiques. In sports, steroids use is illegal. The use of performance-enhancing drugs is commonly referred to by the term "doping". The use of performance enhancing drugs is mostly done to improve athletic performance. This is why many sports ban the use of these drugs. Athletes who use these drugs are cheating. They gain an unfair advantage over opponents and violate the ban on steroids imposed by most major sports organizations. According to www.steroid.com, “Anabolic steroids are synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone”. Non-medical use of anabolic steroids is illegal and banned by most major sports organizations. Still, some athletes continue to use them illegally despite evidence that using them this way can cause many serious health problems. The use of steroid in sports has been a hot topic for decades, and there are very real dangers in taking them. In the past three decades, steroids have been becoming a serious problem more than ever in the athletic field. Unfortunately research has shown that steroids have been abused

in almost every kind of sport. Different types of steroids are being used by many people in body building. Most people who choose to take illegal steroids take anabolic steroids. Anabolic steroids have been used by men and women in many different kinds of professional sports (cricket, track and field, weightlifting, bodybuilding, shot put, cycling, baseball, wrestling, mixed martial arts, boxing, football, etc.) to attain a competitive edge or to assist in recovery from injury. Such use is prohibited by the rules of the governing bodies of many sports. Anabolic steroid use occurs among youth, especially by those participating in competitive sports. Steroids have become popular because they may improve endurance, strength, and muscle mass. However, research has not shown that steroids improve skill, agility, or athletic performance. Not only can steroids have damaging and unpredictable consequences for an individual's health, but they can also bring legal punishment and disqualification from sports. The use of anabolic steroids is banned by all major sporting bodies, including the International Olympic Committee, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association, the National Hockey League, WWE, ICC, ITF, FIFA, FINA, UEFA, the European Athletic Association, and the Brazilian Football Confederation. Anabolic steroids are controlled substances in many countries, including Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the Netherlands (NL), the United Kingdom (UK) and the United States (U.S.). Besides the legal and competitive consequences, illegal steroids can cause a number of health problems. For men, this can include low sperm count, smaller testicles, sterility and larger breast tissue. For women, the most common effects are smaller breasts, a deeper voice and more body hair. Both sexes can experience in increase in aggression, acne, cholesterol, heart problems and liver problems. Steroid users can also experience withdrawal when they quit using the drugs. These symptoms can include fatigue, loss of appetite and mood swings.

Overall the usage of steroids is very damaging to the human body. Even though it physically builds up the body for better performance the risks of use are enormous. Steroids physically deteriorate and mentally destroy the body. The usage of steroids provides an unfair advantage to non-user athletes and therefore should remain illegal for non-medical use. So it’s necessary to research on the athletes of Bangladesh about their thoughts and knowledge on using steroids and their side effects. So, I intend to research on what steroids are and its impact on sports and on the athletes.

BACKGROUND

Steroids are drugs that many athletes use to enhance their abilities in sports. The use of steroids can be dangerous to both body and mind. The drug also can give athletes unfair advantages which could boost them to victory. The use of steroids should not be permitted in any type of sporting event. What is a steroid? Steroids are a synthetic version of the human hormone testosterone. Testosterone stimulates and maintains the male sexual organs. It also stimulates the development of bones and muscle, promotes skin and hair growth, and can influence emotions. In males, testosterone is produced by the testes and the adrenal gland. In the 1930's, researchers first developed steroids to rebuild and prevent the breakdown of body tissues from disease. The first use of steroids in sports was recorded in 1954 at the world championships in Vienna, Austria (Yesalis 72). Russian weight lifters were using steroids and were merely invincible in their competition against other countries (Yesalis 72). The U.S. coach asked the Russians how they were accomplishing this, and they told him they were given steroids (Yesalis 72). This started the craze for steroids around the world. Many scientists believe it can increase strength and body size, but others believe that using the drug makes you stronger so one can train harder therefore resulting in gained body size and strength (Yesalis 74). Many people that take them are athletes and people with body image issues (www.steroids.com). Others such as police officers and bouncers use them because they work in physical fighting environments (www.steroids.com).

The use of steroids may cause many serious mental side effects. The drug produces a change in the electroencephalogram, an image of the brain activity (Dowshen 6). Mood swings are common which are caused by increased hostility and aggressiveness. Some steroid users even go through violent, uncontrollable rages called Roid Rage (Yesalis 69). Many steroid users feel depressed and do things they would never think of doing (Yesalis 67). The most greatly affected emotions are agitation, euphoria, insomnia, and psychosis. Steroids may also cause maniac-like symptoms leading violent, even homicidal episodes. Depression often is seen when the drugs are stopped and may contribute to steroid dependence (Taylor 89). Users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility (www.steroidabuse.com). Some of these effects are not present at first, but after abusing this drug these symptoms may be irreversible. Steroids may also cause many serious physical side effects that can be long or short term. There are many short term effects from the use of steroids such as the development of acne, deepened voice, and abnormal hair growth. Metabolism is weakened and levels of blood sugar increase, which worsens diabetes. The incidence of cataracts occurs in eyes. Thinning of the skin occurs and blood vessels near surface of skin become visible. Skin bruises more easily and wounds heal slowly (Mayo Clinic). Changes in the elevation of blood pressure are common. Steroids may be linked to the increased risk of all stones (Snyder 68). The short term effects are less serious than the long term effects. Steroids cause the formation of new bones to be inhibited and osteoporosis and joint damage occurs. The body produces fewer disease fighting antibodies, making you more susceptible to get sick (Mayo Clinic). If taken at an early age, steroids may stunt the growth in young people (Cowart 56). The three main problems that occur are adverse effects in the liver, cardio-vascular system, and reproductive system (Yesalis 67). The effects on

the liver are hepatitis blood filled cysts can weaken and eventually shut down the liver (Snyder 69). The effects on the cardio-vascular system are changes in cholesterol level, blood pressure level, and blood clotting problems occur which can cause heart attacks or strokes (Snyder 69). The final main problem that can occur with the use of steroids is in the reproductive system. The sperm count in males lowers, testes decrease in size, and natural testosterone decreases which can cause infertility (Snyder 70). Men also develop breasts, or called gynecomastia, as a counter action to the raised estrogen levels to try and balance out the outrageous testosterone levels. The increased risk of cervical and endometrial cancer is present in women who take steroids. A decrease in breast size is also attainable; all of these problems may also lead to the absence of fertility as in men. Women also experience masculine features such as a deepened voice and abnormal hair growth (www.steroid.com). The main problem I have with steroids is the use of the drug by athletes in sporting events. I think you should not result to a drug just to take you to the next level. This gives athletes a way to cheat or have an unfair advantage over other opponents. The main reason athletes use steroids is to get strong and get strong quick. Steroids give the athletes increased muscle mass, strength, endurance, and recovery rates from injuries (Snyder). Nine percent of football players used anabolic-androgen steroids. Other male sports included track and field (4%), baseball (4%), tennis (4%), and basketball (3%). The only women’s sport associated with steroid use was swimming, in which 1% were users. Steroids also heighten the aggression of the user that improves their performance in their sport and makes them feel as if they are invincible which in return builds their confidence. The athletes who are clean are the ones who are affected the most. If an athlete is using steroids, he or

she will be physically stronger than their opponent and would constantly be superior to them. This is unfair because many athletes who have trained hard lose because of this superiority. Many gold medals, championships, world records, and Hall of Famers have been achieved through this form of cheating. But, not all of the athletes who use steroids get away with it. If they are tested positive for it, they are banned from their sport. This puts shame on the athlete and the team he or she represented. The laws are starting to make the sentences for people who deal with illegal steroids and similar drugs more strict. The courts are handing out stiff sentences to distributors that can last from three to six years in jail and fines up to six figures. Many professional sports are making drug tests mandatory for athletes to be screened for steroids. The Olympic Games are now closely monitored to prevent athletes who use steroids from participating.

RESEARCH QUESTION

In this research paper, I would like to enquire about the fact that whether using anabolic steroids really helps to enhance the performance of the athletes and what are the causes and short term and long term effects of using this drug. I would also like to figure out what the athletes and the general people think of using steroids in particular sports. The research questions that I would like to direct are as follows: 1. What are anabolic steroids? 2. Which sports enhances more use of steroids? 3. Why do athletes use anabolic steroids? 4. How do the athletes take steroids? 5. Can steroids really enhance athletic performance of an athlete? 6. What are the side effects or the long term consequences of using steroids?

HYPOTHESIS

Steroids are obviously dangerous to the players. If some players use steroids, others are forced to do the same, in order to compete and those who do not may lose the game. Those who use the steroids harm their bodies and those who don't face unfair competition. In my point of view, some athletes who are determined to win at any costs, take steroids in for the hope that they will improve their ability to run faster, hit farther, lift heavier weights, jump higher, or have more endurance even knowing that these drugs can inflict irreversible physical harm and have significant side effects. I expect most authorities will agree with me that steroids cannot improve an athlete's agility or skill. Many factors determine athletic ability, including genetics, body size, age, sex, diet and how hard the athlete trains. Also I think that most of the people will agree on me that athletes should not use steroids just in order to win competitions since using steroids are considered as cheating in sports. Before starting my research paper I think that I would get negative responses from almost all the people about the use of steroids in sports. People don’t want to see an athlete who often represents their nation cheats or rely on unfair means to win a competition. Though it is true that steroids enables a person to gain strength faster than any other thing but I think that ethically athletes even don’t prefer anabolic steroids. I will provide all the required data that will support my hypothesis in the data presentation and analysis part.

METHODOLOGY

To prepare my research paper, I have collected data from two sources. They are: ⇒ Primary Source ⇒ Secondary Source Primary Source: In order to collect the primary data I have used the primary sources. I have prepared two sets of survey questionnaire consisting of ten questions on each set. My first set of questionnaire is for the local athletes/ sportsperson to know what they think about the use of steroids in sports and on my second set which was designed for the general people; I tried to find out the view of the people about the use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs which are used in sports. Secondary Source: For secondary data I have used secondary sources. Since there are no printed sources available in Bangladesh on the use of steroids in sports so I have used web resources. Many websites like- www.steroids.com, http://sportsanddrugs.procon.org and www.health.state.ny.us provided me many required information. I have also gone through some books on steroids and sports from www.books.google.com.

DATA PRESENTATION AND ANALYSIS

There were two different sets of questionnaire for my primary research. One was for the athletes and the other one was for the general people. For my survey, I chose a sample of 20 athletes from different sports clubs. All of the athletes were aged in between 16-29 years. And for the general people I chose random sample of 20 students from North South University. The questions were based on their knowledge and as well as their attitude towards the use of steroids in sports. Many important facts came out of the survey; these statistics are elaborated and analyzed below. My first set of questionnaire was for the athletes. In this questionnaire, I tried to figure out what the Bangladeshi athletes thinks about the steroids and do they approve the use of steroids in sports.

Response of the 20 Athletes in 100%

Question 1 Were you influenced by a professional athlete to take performance enhancing drugs? For my first question I wanted to find out whether the athletes were influenced by other athletes to take steroids. There were three options in the answer: Yes, No and other reasons. Surprisingly,

35% of the athletes chose option “Yes” that they were influenced by another athlete to take any kinds of performance enhancing drugs. And 65% of the athletes denied the thing. No one chose the third option.

Question 2 Are steroids difficult to obtain? On the second question I wanted to find out if the Bangladeshi athletes can obtain steroids easily or it’s hard for them to obtain steroids. 20% of the athletes chose option one that means they find it difficult to obtain steroids. But 55% of them think that it can be obtained easily and 25% went for the last option although none of them gave a valid reason for choosing this option.

Question 3 Have you ever taken anabolic steroids? This was a direct question to the athletes to find out whether any of them were use to or took steroids once. Amazingly 100% of the athletes responded to option two “No”. That means none of them have ever taken steroids.

Question 4 Ethically, do you approve of anabolic steroids in athletics? My fourth question was on the ethics of the athletes. Since taking steroids is considered as cheating so does they support taking anabolic steroids and take part in competitions. 15% of the athletes approve anabolic steroids in sports but majority 85% thinks it is unfair and unethical of using anabolic steroids and taking part in competitions. But none of the athletes select the third option.

Question 5 If you were a coach, would you commend anabolic steroid usage to athletes in your sport? The next question was for the athletes what the feel like on recommending steroids to the athletes if they become coach. This is a very important question since many coaches’ bounds their players/ athletes to take performance enhancing drug to perform better despite of its side effects. But the respond I got from Bangladeshi athletes was very impressing. 85% of the athletes chose the option 2 “No”. But 15% of the athletes were in favor of recommending steroids to the athletes. But none of them chose the third option.

Question 6 Do you feel anabolic steroids have positively affected the performance of athletes in your sport? This question was a general question about what the athletes feels or will feel if they take steroids. Do they think that steroids or positively affect their performance or it will have a negative outcome. From the three options 45% of the athletes feel that steroids will have a positive effect on their performance. But 50% of the athletes opposed this by choosing option 2 “No”. They don’t feel that steroids can have a positive effect on ones performance. And rest 5% of the athletes picked option 3 “Others”.

Question 7 Do you feel that steroids enable a person to gain strength faster than otherwise possible? My seventh question for the athletes was to find out whether they know what steroids can do other than any performance enhancing drug. The results for this question were very surprising. 85% of the athletes chose “Yes” and the rest 15% chose the second option “No” and none went for the third option.

Question 8 If you take steroids, do you feel you will perform better in your sport? The next question for the athletes was to find out what the feel if they had taken steroids and participated in their sports. For this question 65% of the athletes voted “Yes” and 35% of the athletes chose the second option “No”. None of the athletes chose the last option. It is clearly understood that maximum athletes feels that they will perform better taking steroids.

Question 9 Do Athletes who use performance enhancing drugs lose popularity? This question was asked to know that what the athletes thinks losing their popularity if they are accused of using performance enhancing drugs or steroids. For this question 60% of the athletes feel that those who use performance enhancing drugs or steroids lose their popularity. 20% of

them don’t think the same as they chose the second option “No”. And 20% of rest chose the last option.

Question 10 Do you know the legal and physical consequences of using steroids? The last question for the athletes was to know whether they know about the legal and physical consequences of using steroids and whether they aware physical side-effects that are caused due to steroids. Out of 20 athletes only 60% of them know about the side-effects and legal consequences and the rest of them 40% doesn’t know about the consequences.

My second set of questionnaire was for the general people of Bangladesh. I questioned a sample of 20 university students aged 19 to 26. In this questionnaire, I tried to figure out what these people thinks about the steroids and do they approve the use of steroids in sports. I also wanted to find out whether they want steroids to be made legal in sports.

Response of the 20 General People in 100%

Question 1 Do you think steroid helps to increase the performance of the athletes? My first question was do they think steroids help athletes to increase their performance. Surprisingly majority of 75% thinks it can increase athlete’s performance. And the rest of the people think it can’t increase. There was 0% for the last option.

Question 2 In which category of sports you think the use of steroid is the highest? The second question I asked them was in which category of sports they think the use of steroids is highest. The option I gave to them was Motorsports, Football/Baseball, Athletics and Other sports. 75% of the people think its Athletics in which the use of steroid is the highest. And 25%

of them think Football/Baseball. None of them went for motorsports or mentioned any other sports.

Question 3 Should athletes use steroids? My next question was should the athletes use steroids. 80% of them chose “No”. But surprisingly 20% of the people ticked “Yes”. None chose the other option.

Question 4 How many athletes in Olympics do you think use steroids? My fourth question to this sample people was to find what they think of the athletes using steroids in the Olympics. Out of the four options only 5% of the sample thinks all of them uses steroids, 30% of them thinks half of the athletes in Olympics uses steroids, 15% of the people thinks that none of the athletes uses steroids in Olympics. But majority 50% chose to give some other percentages in which they mention different percentages.

Question 5 Do you support the ban on the athletes who are tested positive on steroids? Reason for this question was to find out whether the people are favor of banning the athletes those who are banned for using steroids. 70% of the sample supports the ban. 25% of them don’t support the ban and rest of them chose the last option.

Question 6 Should one face criminal charges for using steroids? My sixth question was to find out whether people think that the athletes who are accused of using steroids should face criminal charges. Answers for this question was very interesting since 50% of the people said “Yes” and the rest 50% said “No”. None picked the last option.

Question 7 Do you think using steroids should be considered as cheating? My next question was to find out whether the people think that steroids should be considered as cheating or not. 90% of the people think that steroids should be considered as cheating in sports and only 10% denied the thing. No one voted the last option.

Question 8 Do you think use of steroids should be made legal in sports? This question was asked to find out what the people thinks about legalizing steroids in sports. Do they want steroids to be a legal thing is sports or not. Only 10% of the sample population wants steroids to be made legal in sports. But 90% of the sample population doesn’t want steroids to be legal in sports.

Question 9 Why do you think athletes’ take steroids? My ninth question was a general question about the reasons for taking steroids by the athletes. There were four options to this question; to perform better, family problems, to ease the pressure and other reasons. 80% of the people chose the first option and 20% of the people chose the third option. None chose second and fourth option.

Question 10 Can you name at least one professional athlete/player who took steroid and got banned? My last question was to find out how many of the sample population knew the names of any athletes who got banned for taking steroids. Only 40% of the sample population managed to give a name and the rest 60% failed to give a name. Out of the 40% most of the people mention the name of Adrian Mutu.

RESEACH FINDINGS

Using my research data I can summarize that in Bangladesh none of the athletes takes steroids. And ethically, most of the athletes do not approve the use of steroids in sports. The athletes feel that steroids have positively affected the performance of them in their sports. Moreover they also think that steroids enable a person to gain strength faster than any other thing. Most of the athletes in Bangladesh are aware of the legal and physical consequences associated with the use of steroids. Apart from the athletes, the general people of Bangladesh don't want steroids to be used in sports. They don't want to see athletes using steroids and take part in sports. Many of the people support the ban on the players who are tested positive for using steroids. People don't want steroids to become a legal substance in sports. 90% of them think that using steroids should be considered as cheating. It is true that my research findings did agree to my hypothesis to a great extent because most of the answers that I expected to get finally evolved from my samples opinion. According to my hypothesis steroids should be considered as cheating and 90% of the sample strongly agreed to it. My assumption was that even the athletes don't prefer steroids in sports and the athletes in Bangladesh even proved that ethically they also don't prefer the use of steroids in sports.

CONCLUSION

Throughout my whole research paper I tried to figure out what steroids are and what they can do. Steroids are just short term solutions to win in a competition. Steroids cannot improve an athlete's agility or skill. Many factors determine athletic ability, including genetics, body size, age, sex, diet and how hard the athlete trains. Without using steroids people can win competitions in a fair way for example Usain Bolt, sprinter of Jamaica, who won 5 gold medals in the Beijing Olympics 2009. In conclusion, the use of anabolic steroids is not a healthy alternative to increase strength. Steroids alter the characteristics of one’s body. The use of steroids by athletes is a very risky business that no one wants to be a part of. I hope this paper has enlightened you about steroids and that I hope that the use of steroids in sports will be stopped in the near future for the sake of a better and fair play.

WORKS CITED

Yesalis, C. (2000). Anabolic Steroids in Sport and Exercise. Human Kinetics. Retrieved August 22, 2009, from http://books.google.com

Dowshen, S. (2009). Are steroids worth the risk?. Retrieved August 8, 2009, from http://kidshealth.org/teen/exercise/safety/steroids.html#

Steroid.com (2009) Side-effects of steroids Retrieved August 8, 2009, from http://www.steroid.com/side.php

New York State Dept. of Health (2008) Anabolic Steroids and Sports: Winning at any Cost. Retrieved August 8, 2009, from http://www.health.state.ny.us/publications/1210/

Cowart, V. (1998). The Steroids Game. Chicago: Human Kinetics Publishers. Retrieved 20 August, 2009, from http:// books.google.com

Ringhofer, R. ( 1996) Coaches Guide to Drugs and Sports. Champaign: Human Kinetics Publishers Retrieved August 22, 2009, from http://books.google.com

Taylor, W. N. (2002). Anabolic Steroids and the Athlete. McFarland. Retrieved August 22, 2009, from http://books.google.com

Snyder, P. J. (n.d) Use of Androgens and other Drugs by Athletes. Retrieved from http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html

Mayo Clinic (2008) Performance-enhancing drugs: Are they a risk to your health? Retrieved 22August, 2009, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/performance-enhancingdrugs/HQ01105

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