Matthew Cheever Professor Meagan Rodgers Engl. 4014/25/2004 Performance Enhancing Drugs and their Effects Sports are America's number one source of entertainment. We often love to see game-winning home runs, hail mary's, eighty yard runs, and records being broken. We want OUR athletes to be at their best. We do not care at whose expense this entertainment comes, we just want our money's worth. How do these athletes perform at such high levels day in and day out? Most of them go to the gym and hit the weights or go to the ball field and practice some hitting.

But others take an easier way out. They decide to cheat themselves of becoming a truly better athlete. Those cheating athletes turn to performance-enhancing drugs such as steroids or, a. k.

a. and ro. These players feel the negative consequences of these drugs are out-weighed by the positive consequences. Those players are wrong. As a fan of sports, I want my favorite teams or players to be at their best.

I want them to win. No, not just win; I want them to be spectacular in doing it. I want my team to give me heart-stopping action. Whether it is a home run in the bottom of the ninth to win the World Series or it is a buzzer beater from half court to win the game, either way my team has to be great.

I do not care about their practice habits or what is going on in their household; I just want them to perform at their best every night. I know most of you are guilty of this too. We turn on the TV at the beginning of the baseball game and the announcer says, 'Joe Schmo won't be playing tonight cause of a broken leg he suffered last night in a terrible car accident.' At first you will be shocked and hope he is ok. Then you ask the TV, expecting to get an answer, 'When is he gonna be back? ! ? !' Sports today have become so competitive that players will hurt others to win or at least get an edge.

If they do not hurt others, they hurt themselves. Lately there have been many cases of players being caught with some type of performance-enhancing drug. It seems that the pressure for these players to succeed has pushed them to the level of 'at all costs'. Recently, ex-Major League Baseball (MLB) superstar Jose Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids while he was in the pros.

Canseco was one of the premiere hitters in his time. Canseco admitted his usage of the drug after his retirement from the majors. Canseco also said approximately 85% of baseball players used steroids when he was in the majors (Rushin, 17-19). Canseco is not the only player who has admitted to using steroids to get an edge playing baseball. Ken Caminiti, former National League MVP, has also admitted to using steroids during his career with baseball.

Caminiti estimated 50 % of major league baseball players were using steroids. Some people question whether or not steroids really make a big difference in the performance of baseball players. Lets look at the numbers. Before Caminiti took steroids, the most home runs he had in a season was 26. In 1996, his first year taking steroids, he set several career highs.

40 home runs, 130 RBI's (runs batted in), and a batting average of. 326. These numbers were good enough to earn Caminiti the National League MVP (Caminiti Comes Clean). It is not just steroids these athletes are taking to improve their performances. Mark McGwire, a recent home run record holder, took and ro while he played in the Majors. Andro is a precursor to his cousin steroids.

This means it basically has the same affects to the body as steroids. Steroids and and ro both increase the body's testosterone. Increased testosterone results in acne, baldness, and lower cholesterol (Associated Press). Why would these players put themselves in harm's way? Apparently they feel the deterioration of their body does not match the importance of being great in their sport.

The other drug that has been making the headlines lately has been. Ephedra is a dietary supplement that was used by ex Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler. Bechler died last year during spring training. His death was traced to the use of. There have been over 155 deaths traced from to the use of. Ephedra is supposed to speed up metabolism and is a great energizer.

The only problem is if it is not taken properly, it results in the heart pumping so fast that the consumer goes into cardiac arrest. Ephedra was taken off the market and is now illegal to produce because of these deaths (Llosa, 71). All these drugs have very bad side effects. However steroids have the worst documented side effects for performance-enhancing drugs. If you do not think so, just look at what happened to the East German Olympic athletes who practiced for the Olympics in the 70's or 80's. Those Olympiads were secretly given Oral-Turinabol, an anabolic steroid.

They were told by their coaches and trainers the pills were vitamins and they would help their training. The steroids caused over 1, 000 of the 10, 000 athletes to have severe long term health problems. For the male athletes, some of those harms included: impotence, damaged hearts, kidney failure, and even some men grew womanly breasts. The steroids also caused most of the hammer throwers to die at young ages. As for the women, the steroids caused ovarian cysts, infertility, and birth defects to their children (Bechtel, 25). These are not the only consequences when consuming steroids.

Steroids can affect several parts of the body. For men some other side effects are: reduced sperm count, shrinkage of testicles, and pain when urinating (Community Drug Alert). Liver cancer, homicidal rage, and delusions are other side effects from steroids for both sexes (Research Report Series). These are the type of drugs that a small portion of America's youth is now taking to make the varsity football team or to have the perfect body for the beach. The youth is hearing about our professional athletes taking these performance enhancing drugs and thinking, "I wanna be like him" or "Look at him, he's doing it and he's making millions because of it." They do not know of the terrible long term effects of these drugs. So they either swallow pills or inject the drugs with needles into their body thinking it is ok.

That was the case of 16 year old Sean Riggins. Sean Riggins was a student athlete who lived in Lincoln, Illinois. Sean was a normal teenager who wanted to make the varsity football squad. That was until he began taking. Sean swallowed in a little yellow and black pill that contained and caffeine.

When he took the pill, he called it jacket ing. One day at a jayvee football game, Sean told his coach he was not feeling that well. The next day, Sean died from cardiac arrest. His heart was beating so fast it just shut down. Once the doctors found out Sean had been taking, they decided the death was the result of the pills.

Sean is just one of the many young athletes who use drugs like this (Llosa, 68-70). A 2001 survey conducted by Blue Cross Blue Shield's Healthy Competition Foundation indicated that approximately one million kids had used supplements (Llosa, 71). Androstenedione is claimed to improve muscle strength, muscle mass, help lower body fat, and improve sexual performance. Now who would not want that? I would take Andro if it would do that for me. Unfortunately, most studies oppose these claims.

In 1999, King et al (a scientist), conducted a test with 29 middle aged men. King et al gave them dosages of and ro for eight weeks and had the men train everyday. He compared their muscle mass and strength before and after. King et al found that there was no significant difference in the before and after observation. His study was seconded by several other scientists.

So if and ro does not help the body, what does it do for the body? The studies the previously mentioned scientists conducted do not show too many beneficial things. However the things and ro can do to the body are: prostate cancer, breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other negative results (Breeder, 106-109). That's probably why the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is trying to ban the sale of and ro. FDA says that and ro is basically the same thing as steroids and since steroids are illegal, unless prescribed by a doctor, and ro should be as well (Associated Press). In this paper I have described the reasons why some of these performance enhancing drugs are illegal and why some others should be. These drugs may help athletes excel in their sport but it comes with severe consequences.

Pro athletes are using these drugs and it affects more than just them. Younger generations of athletes feel if the pros need these drugs they do too. As you could see in the situation with the East German Olympic Team, these drugs have drastic long term effects. Some athletes have set career records when using performance-enhancing drugs. There is no fun setting those records if the player is not alive to enjoy it.

Work Cited Associated Press. "FDA attempts to stem sale of and ro." 11 March 2004. ESPN. 15 April 2004... Breeder, Craig E. "Oral Andro-Related Pro hormone Supplementation: Do the Potential Risks Outweigh the Benefits?" Canadian Journal of Applied Physiology 28 (2003): 102-17." Caminiti Comes Clean: Ex-MVP says he won award while using steroids." 28 May 2002 Sports Illustrated.

Com. 22 April 2004... Community Drug Alert Bulletin: Anabolic Steroids. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Bethesda, MD. April 2000. Bechtel, Mark: Kennedy, Kosta: Swift, E. M... "Bodies of Evidence." Sports Illustrated.

14 April 2003: 25. Llosa, Luis Fernando: Munson, Lester: Wert heim, L Jon. "Jolt of Reality." Sports Illustrated 7 April 2003: 68-76. Research Report Series: Anabolic Steroid Abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse. National Institute of Health.

April 2000. Rushin, Steve. "Big Man In The Big House." Sports Illustrated 30 June 2003: 17-19.