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Pros and Cons of Drug Testing in Sports

The NFL’s drug policy differs from the MLB’s, which differs from the NBA’s, and so on, although the leagues’ different drug policies do have some common elements. The leagues tend to treat marijuana as a recreational drug; athletes, however, have cited it as a substance that helps with recovery and pain management. With the athletes’ perspectives in mind, marijuana is grouped with amphetamines, anabolic agents, and other PEDs in the graphic below. Androgens include exogenous testosterone, synthetic androgens (eg, danazol, nandrolone, stanozolol), androgen precursors (eg, androstenedione, dehydroepiandrosterone), selective androgen receptor modulators, and other forms of androgen stimulation. The latter categories of substances have been used by athletes in an attempt to increase endogenous testosterone in a way that may circumvent the ban enforced on natural or synthetic androgens by WADA.

Athletes may be unwilling to discuss their use with researchers even when anonymity and confidentially are guaranteed for fear it may jeopardize their career; thus, leading to differences in what athletes reported on surveys versus their actual activities (21). I knew most of my teammates were doping at the time, and I thought if I said no to it, then I wouldn’t be selected to ride in the Tour de France. In a way, the doctor coming into my room, offering me this little red, egg-shaped testosterone pill, in a way that was almost introducing me to the “A Team.” And for me, I felt that was a big opportunity, that was my chance to ride in the Tour. And it showed that they had faith in me and that they thought I had a future in the sport.

The Pros of Doping in Sports

Athletes may use stimulants such as amphetamines, meth, or Adderall to enhance alertness, increase energy or lose weight. They can have severe respiratory and neurological effects and are highly addictive. These types of stimulants are banned for performance-enhancing use in all major sports.

Many people, including athletes, don’t realize PEDs can be addictive. They assume that because the drugs don’t necessarily produce any euphoria, they don’t have any addictive potential. However, the often extreme motivation that drives sportspeople to try performance-enhancing drugs makes it easier to become addicted to their effects, https://ecosoberhouse.com/ despite the adverse effects of drugs in sport. The use of performance-enhancing drugs, also known as doping, dates back to the first Olympic games in ancient Greece. Back then, the substances of choice included things like sheep testicles. These organs contain testosterone, one of the ingredients used in the creation of PEDs today.

Effects of PEDs: Athlete Stories

Athletes use blood-doping illicitly to increase endurance and reduce fatigue. However, blood-doping has been found to “thicken” blood, increasing the chances of hypertension, blood clots, stroke, and heart attacks. These substances do not provide any “benefit” inherently, other than potentially allowing an athlete to “unwind” or relax. In the case of marijuana, drug use in sports it can occasionally be prescribed by a doctor for pain management, vision impairment, or other various ailments. Measures are in place to ensure that the drug testing process respects the privacy and individual rights of athletes. These include strict confidentiality protocols, the presence of chaperones, and the use of reputable testing facilities.

While the stereotypical drug abuser may not seem like a high-profile athlete, drug use among athletes is common. Many famous athletes in nearly every sport have fought public battles with different types of substance abuse disorder. Addiction in sports affects both men and women and all ages, skill levels, and nationalities.

Athlete’s Autonomy Compromised

The challenges faced by adults who are involved in youth sports, from parents, to coaches, to sports medicine providers, are multiple, complex, and varied across ethnic cultures, gender, communities, and socioeconomic levels. It appears that an emphasis on fun while establishing a balance between physical fitness, psychologic well-being, and lifelong lessons for a healthy and active lifestyle are paramount for success. The observation that long-term AAS use results in increased myonuclei density (57) suggesting that a much longer ‘muscle memory’ is perhaps possible in AAS users, particularly those who use AAS early in life. Evidence for such a mechanism comes from preclinical models (10), where young mice were exposed to AAS and subsequently increased their myonuclear content, resulting in a substantial hypertrophic advantage later in life. The authors of this work (63) even went so far as to suggest, “… the benefits of even episodic drug [AAS] abuse might be long lasting, if not permanent, in athletes. Androgens perform many ergogenic, anabolic, and anticatabolic functions in skeletal muscle and neuronal tissue, leading to increased muscle strength, power, endurance, and hypertrophy in a dose-dependent manner (54).

  • Youth sports should emphasize fun, and maximize physical, psychological, and social development for its participants.
  • And I remember the first time I ever did it, the blood was pulled out in Spain, outside of Valencia, Spain, and it was put back into me three weeks later in the middle of the Tour de France.
  • Journalists have interviewed current and former athletes, coaches, team physicians, and trainers whose estimate of AAS use in sports is much higher than survey reports.
  • However, statistics demonstrate a childhood obesity epidemic, with one of three children now being overweight, with an increasingly sedentary lifestyle for most children and teenagers.

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