Although banned by professional sports leagues, the use of anabolic steroids may be the most common drug used by professional athletes. Anabolic steroids are used to enhance performance but have serious and sometimes life threatening side effects. Common side effects of anabolic steroid use are male feminization and female masculinization, clotting disorders, liver damage, and heart attacks and strokes. When taken by adolescents, steroid use causes stunting of the growth. Steroid use also has psychological side effects too, including depression, anxiety, and severe aggression, sometimes referred to as “roid rage.” Steroid use isn’t the only drug concern in professional sports. Lomas Brown, a former offensive tackle who spent 18 seasons in the National Football League, claims that at least fifty percent of professional athletes smoke marijuana. Side effects of marijuana use include memory problems, anxiety, loss of muscle activity, increased heart rate, breathing problems, and an increased risk of cancer.
Professional leagues have a responsibility for promoting good health among their athletes and should adopt practices which cause athletes to steer a...
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...eir current athletes to high standards and not tolerate drug use.
Recently, Major League Baseball began a crackdown on the usage of performance enhancing drugs. This has resulted in new rules in the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, administered by the MLB and the MLB Players union. The program requires the most drug tests of any professional sport, more than doubling the number of tests this year from previous years. The new rules increase the length of suspensions for use of performance enhancing drugs. I believe the increased testing and longer suspensions will cause more athletes to avoid drug use, which will help protect athletes from the harmful effects of drugs, help maintain the integrity of professional athletics, and help deter young athletes from experimenting with drugs. The MLB has set a good example for other professional leagues to follow.
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