Unfortunately, one of the most talked about things in professional sports today is steroids. Almost everybody has seen the controversies on the news, about Congress addressing athletes (mainly baseball players) in regards to their use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs. However, use of the substances is not just in the major league of America’s favorite pastime, but in most other sports as well. In fact, many casual gym goers will admit to knowing people who are on steroids and the people selling could be hiding out behind the fitness elliptical equipment, gym fitness equipment, or other workout equipment. The most recent controversy over steroids revolves around a doctor from Canada who has recently been caught and arrested selling supplements that are illegal in the United States but legal in his native Canada. As is common knowledge amongst anyone who watches ESPN on a semi regular basis, this doctor has been found out to have treated big name athletes all across the country, including Tiger Woods.
Despite their being in the news on a fairly regular basis, lots of people still are not actually aware of what steroids are and exactly what they do, and the answer varies based on what type of substance is used. The most common type of steroid is known as an anabolic steroid and is used to increase testosterone in the body. This testosterone is then used to increase protein within the cells and through this increase, builds muscles. While typically mentioned in reference to athletes being caught using them, there are legitimate medical uses for anabolic steroids as they are only illegal if there is not a prescription from a doctor for the person using them. However, not all steroids simply aid in building muscles. For example, without naming them for the sake of going into too much detail, there are certain steroids that are used to aid in recovery and increase cardio in their users.
Baseball is the sport that has been hurt the most by the steroid scandals. Many, many big time players from the past few decades have either been honest with authorities about using them, or lied about it and then gotten caught later on. Some of the more famous of the players to have been caught using the substances include Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, both of the participants in the famous race to break the single season home run record from about a decade ago or so.
Another sport that has been hit hard by the use of performance enhancing drugs is the sport of track and field. Most recently, former Olympic gold medalist Marion Jones was found out to have used and ended up serving time in a federal prison for her troubles.
The big question for the sports world in the future is what to do about controversies over performance enhancing drugs. Some of the more cynical in society would suggest that most athletes at the professional level are using them anyway so they should simply be made legal. Others argue that there should be steroid users and natural competitors in every sport, following in the model of weightlifting competitions. Without doubt, sport in the future near and far will be heavily influenced by steroids.