The use of steroids in sports is rumored to be quite widespread at all levels. While professional sport bodies test athletes regularly and publicize the results, steroid abuse is rising in children too. Because anabolic steroids are illegal, use at this level falls under the radar. The effect of steroids on sports may go deeper than we think.
Steroids, in particular testosterone, as a means to improve performance are not new to sport. As early as 776 BC, athletes’ attempts to enhance their performance with testosterone were documented. Those athletes were competing, not for honor, but for prestige and money – much like the athletes of today.
Anabolic Steroids online are believed to enhance performance, develop muscle quicker, and speed up recovery from over-exertion. Because they are banned, few studies of the long-term effects of steroid abuse have been conducted. Known side effects of steroids, however, include:
– for men: prominent breasts, baldness, shrunken testicles and infertility
– for women: deeper voice, increased body hair and baldness
– for both: acne, liver abnormalities, aggression, depression and cardiovascular problems
Taking anabolic steroids is a bit like playing Russian Roulette – you don’t know what result you’re going to end up with until it’s too late.
Why then would anyone take the risk? The pressure to compete and win in sport starts early. There are no parents on the bleachers at Little League matches encouraging their children to lose! This pressure increases in high school, where excellent performance can be a stepping stone to college and beyond that to professional ranks. Parents push their children to excel for those very reasons, as do school coaches and teachers which lead to steroid abuse. Peer pressure in terms of appearance comes into the mix as well. Whether it’s sports stars or rap singers, successful, wealthy, ‘cool’ people flaunt muscular physiques that young people yearn for. When it comes to muscles, the bigger the better. And the opinion of most teenage boys is that muscles get the girls running too.
Once athletes reach professional level, that pressure is minuscule compared to what they will experience now. They answer to millions of fans ready to cast them out of favor for the slightest error on the sports field. The internet means that news travels, and exposes athletes to disgruntled fans via social media as well. Sponsors put pressure on individual players and teams too. They don’t want their brand name on the loser’s jersey. Sponsorship is vital to a team or individual, allowing them to practice with the best equipment, travel as they need to, and earn money doing so. Sponsorship outside of sport can be extremely lucrative for athletes, but nobody pays the loser to drink their brand of soda. Even the level of salaries in professional sport can contribute to the pressure to perform. As ridiculous as it may sound to most of us, most big earners are living up to the limit of their credit cards too – they may be able to pay it off quicker than us, but they are spending their earnings just as quickly as we are. Not only do they need to keep that level of income consistent, they also need to keep up appearances, and look like the successful stars they are, thus steroid abuse.