Performance-enhancing Drugs and Steroids

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Ever since Mark McGwire, a St. Louis Cardinals baseball player, broke the home run record of Roger Maris, a New York Yankee outfielder best known for hitting sixty-one home runs in 1961, the media has been frantic. This frenzy is not only about McGwire's accomplishment of hitting a Herculean seventy home runs but is about another subject, performance-enhancing drugs. Mark McGwire is not only using creatine, but he is also taking androstenedione. Creatine is an amino acid that fuels muscle contraction and is produced in the liver, kidneys, and pancreas (Schrof 54). Androstenedione is produced in the body by the gonads and adrenal glands in small amounts. It is a sex steroid hormone that the body converts to testosterone, a natural anabolic (muscle building) steroid and performance-enhancer ("Hazard Alert" 143). Examples of other performance boosters include chromium, pyruvate, and anabolic-androgenic steroids. All of these supplements aid the body in building and repairing muscle; however, some have more prominent effects than others do. The ensuing dilemma over McGwire is whether or not his breaking of the home run record was aided by drug use. This past summer, the American College of Sports Medicine issued that "the verdict is still out on the safety of creatine supplementation, especially over long periods of time" (Condor 3D). However, the American College of Sports Medicine has no official position about androstenedione, which is banned by the International Olympic Committee, the National Football League, and the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) but allowed by the National Hockey League, National Basketball Association, and Major League Baseball (Condor 3D). There are two basic viewpoints on... ... middle of paper ... ...rts Illustrated 20 April 1998: 58-61. Bender, David and Bruno Leone, ed. Sports in America: Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, Inc. 1994. Condor, Bob. "Price of power, glory." The Greenville News 10 September 1998: 1D+. Gower, Timothy. "Eat Powder! Build Muscle! Burn Calories!" Esquire (Feb. 1998): 113. "Hazard Alert." People Weekly Oct. 12, 1998: 143-145. "How the Experts View Androstenedione." The Washington Post 20 October 1998: 13Z+. Schrof, Joannie M. "McGwire hits the pills: brawn building supplements also deliver serious risks." U.S. News & World Report Sept. 7, 1998: 53-55. Shaughnessy, Dan. "Leave Mac Alone." The State 30 August 1998: 12C. "The carbohydrate of the '90s." Sports Illustrated July 28, 1997: 26. Woods, Steve. "Use of drugs should have no place in sports." The State 25 August 1998: 2C.

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