Performance Enhancing Drugs:The Attitudes of Athletes in Two Diverse Suburban High Schools By Christopher J. Dijak
Outline Thesis Statement Abstract Participants Research Findings Policy Implications Conclusion *All names of schools and athletes have been masked to retain the anonymity of those participating.
Thesis Statement This research is intended to discover and establish a connection between performance enhancing drug (PED) use and high school football players from varying socioeconomic backgrounds. Using the themes of attention, perception of harm, stigmatization, and success, this research will reveal the influence on PED susceptibility that: Professional athlete’s use of PEDs has over these amateur athletes, the influence that coaches have over these amateur athletes, as well as establishing the amateur athletes’ overall knowledge of PEDs.
Thesis Statement The research design addresses these issues by establishing a series of participant targeted research questions formatted theoretically by Grounded Theory, supported thematically by theoretically influenced themes/codes, and confirmed literarily by related, relevant, and theoretically based literature.
Abstract The purpose of this research is to observe, analyze, and interpret the tendencies of high school football players with respect to their use of performance enhancing drugs. Using qualitative techniques via a Grounded Theory methodological approach, this project analyzes the influence and impact that professional athletes, coaches, and thematic variables may have on PED susceptibility of high school level players. A comparative analysis is made using two separate football teams.
Abstract Both teams are from highly developed, well funded, successful athletic programs in the Northeastern United States, but with differing socioeconomic backgrounds. The first high school, Overlook High School, serves a large city with issues in poverty and joblessness. The second high school, Trinity High School, is located in an affluent, largely rural and semi-rural town. The results show that lower socioeconomically based high school football players are more susceptible to the purported benefits of PED use, however all high school football players are ultimately susceptible.
Abstract Professional athletes do have a minor impact on this potential PED use, but the impact of coaches and thematic variables is much greater. To address this issue, sustainable PED education for both players and coaches must begin in elementary school. Also, school facilitated drug testing should be implemented for amateur athletes. Finally, a professional athlete sponsored marketing campaign which addresses the harms associated with PED use would be beneficial.
Participants Trinity Varsity Quarterback – Mark O. Mark is a Junior and an all star Quarterback. He has already committed to a Division 1 college to play lacrosse on a full-scholarship. He is a tall, White-Caucasian, and appears to be extremely sure of himself and confident in his answers. He maintained eye contact throughout the entire interview.
Participants Trinity Junior Varsity Cornerback – Reggie S. Reggie is a Junior. He is a short, relatively small, White-Caucasian, seems hesitant andnot confident in his answers.
Participants Trinity Junior Varsity Wide Receiver – Scott C. Scott is a Sophomore and he plays on the basketball team as well. He is a short, relatively small, White-Caucasian, and seems intelligent, well versed, and confident in his answers. He did seem somewhat nervous throughout the interviewing process.
Participants Overlook Junior Varsity/Varsity Quarterback/Wide Receiver/Safety – Chris L. Chris is a Sophomore and he runs winter track as well. He is a short, White-Caucasian, and seems hesitant and unsure throughout the interviewing process.
Participants Overlook Varsity Center/Defensive End – David D. David is a Junior and he plays baseball as well. He is a tall, thin, White-Caucasian, and seems hesitant, yet confident with his responses.
Participants Overlook Varsity Cornerback – Troy O. Troy is a Junior and he is a Division 1 football prospect. He is a medium build, tall, African-American, and seems extremely sure of himself and confident in his answers.
Question #1 Is it acceptable for a professional athlete to use steroids to help his or her team to win a championship? Trinity Mark – No Reggie – No Scott - No Overlook Chris – No David – No Troy - No
Question #2 What is the worst thing that can happen to an athlete that uses performance enhancing drugs? Trinity Mark – Health Reggie – Stigma Scott – Caught Overlook Chris – Caught David – Caught Troy - Health
Question #3 Should Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens be inducted into the hall of fame? Is their legacy tainted in any way? Trinity Mark – No/Yes Reggie – Maybe/Yes Scott – Yes/Yes Overlook Chris – No/Yes David – Yes/Yes Troy – Maybe/Yes
Question #4 Do you think injured and/or legitimately sidelined players are neglected by coaches? If so, in what ways? Trinity Mark – Sometimes Reggie – No Scott – Yes Overlook Chris – Sometimes David – Sometimes Troy – Sometimes
Question #5 Should high school football players consider using performance enhancing drugs if it will eventually result in a football scholarship? Trinity Mark – No Reggie – No Scott – No Overlook Chris – No David – No Troy – No
Question #6 Should high school football players be subjected to drug testing and repercussions for a positive test in order to level the playing field? Trinity Mark – No Reggie – Yes Scott – No Overlook Chris – Yes David – Yes Troy – Yes
Question #7 Do high school football players tend to emulate the actions of professional athletes (on and off the playing field)? Trinity Mark – On and Off Reggie – Just On Scott – Neither Overlook Chris – On and Off David – Just On Troy – On and Off
Question #8 If a player uses performance enhancing drugs, and this usage is motivated by a sincere desire to make a better contribution to the team’s success, would this be more acceptable than usage that is motivated by a desire to enhance a player’s chance of receiving a Division 1 Scholarship? Trinity Mark – No Reggie – No Scott – No Overlook Chris – No David – No Troy – No
Question #9 What will have more influence over your ability to attend a college/university, your grades or your athletic talent? Trinity Mark – Athletics Reggie – Athletics Scott – Grades Overlook Chris – Grades David – Grades Troy – Grades
Question #10 Is the use of performance enhancing drugs acceptable if their intent is to obtain/maintain a job as a professional athlete so this athlete can monetarily provide for their family? Trinity Mark – No Reggie – No Scott – No Overlook Chris – No David – Mildly Troy – No
Findings From this information we can draw a number of conclusions. The first and most noticeable observation is that football players from both high schools overwhelmingly find any use of performance enhancing drugs to be unacceptable.
Findings When taking a broad comparative look at the responses we can see that the answers from Overlook High School tend to evoke the notion that the use of PEDs is more likely in their situation. Responses which indicated emulation of professional athletes off the field and support of drug testing for high school athletes came heavily from the Overlook athletes.
Findings Responses which could increase the likelihood of Trinity High School football players being subjected to PED use were limited to their perception that athletics has a greater impact on their ability to attend a college/university.
Findings Other key findings include a unanimous misunderstanding of the physical harm and side effects from using PEDs. Other unanimous responses included sympathy for amateur and professional athletes who are forced to use PEDs for monetary reasons.
Policy Implications The first and most important policy implication to recommend is a greater focus on educating high school athletes, and younger athletes on the negative physical harm which accompanies PED use. Many athletes are significantly uninformed on this topic and an improved education regarding steroids and PEDs would be likely to decrease overall use.
Policy Implications Another area to be addressed would be the education of high school coaches to understand their impact on an athlete’s likelihood of using PEDs, especially as it pertains to the management of injured/legitimately sidelined players.
Policy Implications A third suggestion would be the implementation of school facilitated drug testing for PEDs. Based on the possible limitations due to financial constraints (steroid testing kits cost between $50-$400 each), a suggested program would instruct the random testing of 10% of each school sanctioned athletic team.
Policy Implications The final suggestion is to begin a national, public, commercialized campaign using professional athletes to publicly address the harms associated with PED use. This campaign would be especially beneficial to Major League Baseball and the National Football League, as these two leagues have suffered many “public image” damages over the past 10-20 years due to PED use.
Conclusion Through this study we have learned that the use of PED is partially influenced by professional athletes, alongside a host of other variables. PED use in high school does exist, but the problem is far less rampant than in higher levels of competitive athletics.
Conclusion The problem of PED use however is greatly influenced while an athlete is in high school, as almost all professional and collegiate athletes played their respective sport in high school as well.
Conclusion PED use in high school is not currently a large issue, but the influence from role models and the education in regards to PED is. We cannot say whether PED use overall will increase over time, but these steps would be proactive in preventing such an occurrence.