Karlee Ferris<br />CO 300<br />7 May 2010<br />Anabolic Steroid Use in Professional Football<br />Every young boy dreams of being a professional football player. Making a million dollars a year, driving a fast car, and playing the sport they love is enticing. However, less than one percent actually have what it takes to make this dream reality. A good athlete is always looking for that cutting edge or extra something to get noticed. Anabolic drugs seems like the simple solution. An athlete may be talented, but talent alone is not enough, and anabolic drugs can change the outcome or future for the athlete. <br />Some athletes believe that the benefit to legalizing specific dosage of anabolic steroids could lead to more entertaining games, more money, more athletic ability, as well as more broken records. In fact, legalizing the steroids does not really affect what is currently in place. The NHL would not have to change the testing that is already implemented because instead of testing for no steroids, the test would just measure the amount of dosage and the athlete would just have to make sure they were under the recommended amount. This would be beneficial to the athletes because they would not have to face the music with the law for doing an illegal substance. Also, masking agents would no longer be needed. Legal pharmacies would be in charge of the drug rather than drug dealers. However, as simple as it sounds, the questions remains, is this concept something that is beneficial? <br />Anabolic steroids need to stay illegal in professional football because of the physical side effects, what it would do to the college and high school levels, and the loss of purity of the sport. This is necessary because football is something that all of America watches and follows. Becoming a professional football player is the ultimate goal for all younger football players. If steroids were legalized, even a standard amount, serious physical side effects would result. In addition, there are high school football players who idolize these players and are willing to do whatever it takes to be like them. If the young athletes know that it is acceptable to do steroids then they will want to do them as well. Younger players may end up taking inadequate and dangerous forms of steroids in order to achieve success. College football players would struggle to comply to the NCAA rules. Many may overdose in an attempt to be the one who is recruited to the professional teams. If professional football legalizes steroids, then the problem rolls downhill. Should college legalize them, should high school and worse yet do the children then begin to take these drugs? These thoughts open a whole new can of worms. <br />If anabolic steroids were legalized in professional sport at even a designated dosage, they would still cause health issues for athletes. Steroids cause both physical and mental side effects. Steroids use can cause depression, mania, and other mental disorders by the person using them or when trying to get off of them (Steroids). Steroids can also cause aggression. Since football is an aggressive sport to begin with, adding another factor would only cause more aggression with increased strength (Steroids). Many people who get off steroids often go through a withdrawal period, which can be difficult for them and everyone around them (Steroids). Steroids are harmful for the human endocrine system (group of ductless glands that regulate body processes by secreting chemical substances called hormones) as well (Steroids). Altering hormones can have many negative side effects for an athlete. Steroids are known to cause "
liver tumors, jaundice, fluid retention, and high blood pressure. Additional steroid side effects include the following: <br /><ul><li>Men - shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts;
Women - growth of facial hair, changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, deepened voice;
Adolescents - growth halted prematurely through premature skeletal maturation and accelerated puberty changes. </li></ul>Researchers report that users may suffer from paranoid jealousy, extreme irritability, delusions, and impaired judgment stemming from feelings of invincibility” (Steroids). These are all things that would affect an athlete's game as well as what it could do to the team undergoing all of these changes.<br />Anabolic steroids need to stay illegal in professional football because football is constantly in the eye of the media; the Super Bowl is one of the most watched events on television. As for the men who play professional football, they are the idols for young children. If it were to be legal for professional football players then it would be difficult to enforce the fact that it is not allowed for younger athletes. At this point it would be next to impossible to make these young players believe they should take them because of the negative side effects when their idol uses steroids. This would be hypocritical and the younger athletes would not pay attention to what they were being told. It would be as successful as preventing underage drinking and anyone who went to high school knew that the kids who wanted to drink would. America looks to our professional athletes to live a healthy life style and if it is legal to be on anabolic steroids then it would be thought that anabolic steroids are part of a healthy lifestyle. <br />Football, like all sports, has rules that are held throughout all levels. If anabolic steroids were legal in professional football, it would be difficult to enforce keeping anabolic steroids illegal at the high school and college levels. It would be difficult not to allow the use of steroids by college football players looking to be recruited by a professional team. Expectations change if the pros use steroids because college players would need to use them in order to compete with the competition. <br />Other problems with legalization of steroids exist such as, the regulation of how much should be legal, and if college football players could take steroids how much should they be allowed to take? This would not be as hard to check in the college level as in high school because the NCAA has a testing program in place. This program could measure the amount and know if the athletes were within the regulated amount. It would also cause problems because high school football players would have more incentive to use them as well. In 2008 one study found that “20% of high school students said that their decision to use anabolic steroids was influenced by professional athletes and nearly 50% said that professional athletes influenced their friends' decisions to use anabolic steroids”(Hoffman). Though this is one study and the results are not conclusive, the numbers are still shocking considering they feel this way when anabolic steroids are illegal in football. <br />Having high school level football players do anabolic steroids would be the most dangerous because they are so poorly informed on the effects of anabolic steroids. They would also have the potential to be doing anabolic steroids for the longest length of time, and as all drugs they are hard on your body and the longer they are used the harder it is. For high school level football players it would also be more dangerous because they would not have money to afford less dangerous steroids. The younger athletics are more likely to get these drugs from less stable sources. It would be hard to discourage the use of anabolic steroids to the younger athletes because they are not just playing for the completive edge but for a scholarship, which is four to five years of free college. Money is a motivator for all people and even if it means paying a little extra now it is not a big deal because the reward is worth it. The same goes for college students that are playing for a shot at the pros and a pros salary. <br />Another problem with anabolic steroids being legalized in professional football is that it creates an unfair playing field. It causes the athletes who do not want to do anabolic steroids to feel forced into doing them in order to keep up with the game. Athletes would feel this way because if one team member plays better due to drugs then what would happen if the whole team did this. The athlete would feel pressured to use steroids for the benefit of the team because that is the nature of sports. When sports advance you must advance with them or be left behind. In most cases this is an advantage and often tends to create more safety and entertainment in the sport, but if steroids were legalized it would lead to health problems for the athletes. It would be what you must do in order to keep your monthly paycheck. It causes a lack of purity because when America looks at our professional athletes they are put on a pedestal and the young athletes aspire to be like them. Athletes are viewed as the people who are willing to work hard enough at their sport to achieve professionalism. The integrity of the sport means the athlete is putting forth 110 percent. Anabolic steroids allow the athlete to take the easy way out and it destroys the purity of the sport. The use of steroids would destroy the illusion that all athletes have a strong work ethic and it would take away from the accomplishment of what hard work can produce. It would always be a question in people's minds if you are just winning because your team is using a performance enhancing drug or because you were the more talented team. It would no longer be a testament to your skill, but to the pharmacist who prescribed you with the drug. It would be this way because even though you are still working it is not to the same caliber. It would make records that are broken be discounted because the people before them could have possibly done the same if they were given the chance to take performance enhancing drugs. <br /> Anabolic steroids would cause so many problems for athletes of all ages. Keeping it illegal in professional football is most important because NFL rules are what the other levels will follow. Anabolic steroids can have no place in the NFL. Children are our future and as adults we are responsible for teaching them good habits and the habit we do not want them to do is to use steroids. A child of a professional athlete should not witness the decline of their parent when the anabolic steroid begins to create the unwanted side effects. No child wants his parent to die early! With all the information available it is imperative that anabolic steroids must remain illegal. <br />