Athletic Enhancements and Pressure: Are Mild Steroids Safe? | Teen Ink

Athletic Enhancements and Pressure: Are Mild Steroids Safe?

April 29, 2008
By Anonymous

We celebrate people who are big and strong and fast and skillful, idolize them, buy the products they endorse, dress like them, talk like them, and worship the socks they sweat in. It isn’t something we invented, another product of modern decadence. The Greeks idolized athletes and warrior-heroes and were obsessed with physical appearance also. If you won at the ancient Olympic Games for your city-state back then, you were set for life, as big a star in that world as athletes are today.
Unfortunately, many famous athletes such as Barry Bonds, Jason Giambi, and Floyd Landis have been caught using some form of an illegal steroid to enhance their performance and to gain an unfair advantage over other athletes. Slowly but surely, steroids have snaked their way into the hands of many high school athletes, looking to bulk up. High schools nationwide are struggling with rising steroid use, not just among athletes battling for college scholarships, but also among non-athletes who think bigger biceps will make them more popular. It’s not only males that feel this pressure, but many females have reported taking steroids to get six-pack abs, proving it is a problem for both sexes, many cliques, and many age groups.
Most schools cannot afford the costly tests for detecting illegal bodybuilding drugs, including Lakeside High school. Even those that test for marijuana and cocaine do not check for steroids, which are potentially more destructive; thus, having no check system or consequence for athletes who could possibly be taking them.
Creatine, a legal, accessible, and widespread steroid has rapidly become more popular among people looking for an edge in strength training and sports performance. A senior athlete at Lakeside High School who is a creatine user is open about taking it, and states that “It gives you more energy when working out and getting bigger.” By law, you have to be 18 to buy creatine, however he says that he was never carded. When asked why he thinks people feel the need to cross the line of the law and take illegal steroids, he responded, “It gets them that much further and ahead of everyone else. They do it for first string, starting line, more glory.” He adds he would never take an illegal enhancement, but agrees that creatine has its dangers if used incorrectly and carelessly.
It is a controversial subject whether athletes should be stripped of their titles if caught taking illegal enhancements. But besides the fear of getting caught, there are major long and short term effects to any athletic enhancement, despite its legality. Steroids are known for stunting growth and shrinking testicles, as well as causing girls to grow facial hair. Not to mention possible heart disease, liver damage and rage. Creatine, although legal, causes severe dehydration, and muscle and kidney problems. Therefore, before deciding whether to enhance your performance unnaturally, it is crucial to evaluate whether or not a possible permanent risk is worth a temporary boost. Or, in the case of an illegal drug, whether getting caught and arrested is worth false glory.

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