Even though steroids have been banned in Major League Baseball (MLB) since 1991, Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) testing wasn’t implemented until 2003. The lack of testing had to be very tempting for player’s juicing prior to and after the ban. I certainly would have been, especially if I felt steroids would have given me more of a competitive advantage over others.
Currently among the major sports in the United States, MLB has been the most tarnished by the “steroid era” which spanned from the 1980s through the late 2000s! Since mandatory testing began in 2004, some of the most prominent baseball players in the league have either failed PED tests or admitted to using them in some form.
Although many experts feel that the use of steroids doesn’t create a huge advantage, they do think it’s significant. The use of anabolic steroids can be very beneficial to athletes because the banned substance allows an athlete to train much harder and allows quicker recovery from soreness and injuries.
Let me point out, though, the use of anabolic steroids doesn’t necessarily guarantee improved performances from athletes in whatever sport they may participate in.
Take for instance in baseball, there are some that believe steroid use helps hitters. I beg to differ because I feel that great hand-eye coordination is necessary to become a consistent hitter! If you were hitter prior to steroid use, you'll probably still be one after a series of steroids unless your hand-eye coordination improves. One other upside is that steroids can actually help an athlete remain more durable throughout the physical demands of a season, especially if they’re constantly being hampered by nagging injuries. You can’t improve and perfect your craft on the injured reserve list!
Along with the benefits of using steroids and other PEDs, there are the dangers because most athletes take anabolic steroids at higher doses than prednisone which is a prescribed steroid for medical reasons.
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, steroid abuse may lead to serious, even irreversible, health problems. Some of the most dangerous consequences that have been linked to steroid abuse include kidney impairment or failure; damage to the liver; and cardiovascular problems including enlargement of the heart, high blood pressure, and changes in blood cholesterol leading to an increased risk of stroke and heart attack (even in young people).
The National Institute of Drug Abuse report further includes, that although many users report feeling good about themselves while on steroids, extreme mood swings can also occur, including manic-like symptoms and anger (“roid rage”) that may lead to violence. Researchers have also observed that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility.
Steroid use commonly causes severe acne and fluid retention, as well as several effects that are gender- and age-specific:
For men—shrinkage of the testicles (testicular atrophy), reduced sperm count or infertility, baldness, development of breasts (gynecomastia), increased risk for prostate cancer
For women—growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, enlargement of the clitoris, deepened voice
Also let’s not forget about Human Growth Hormone (HGH), in adults very large doses can cause the skull to thicken and the forehead and eyebrow ridge to become very noticeably prominent! Although he never failed a Steroid or HGH test, Barry Bonds comes to mind from the above-mentioned dangers from large dosages of HGH. (Head growth)
Even with the health risk associated from the use of steroids and other PEDs, athletes are still willing to take the risks involved due to FINANCIAL GAIN! Greater production leads to financially lucrative contracts! So clearly the motive is MONEY!
If obtaining success and gaining wealth can influence Alex Rodriquez to assume the risk of being afflicted with shrunken testicles and females risk growing beards, then Rick James should be rolling over in his grave, ready to retract his cocaine is a hell of a drug statement!