The usage of illicit substances in sport, better known as doping is becoming a rising issue in modern times. The purpose of taking these drugs is either enhance performance of an athlete or to escape from the large amounts of pressure and stress on them. This is because elite athletes are being constantly pushed to their limits in order to perform at the top level consistently and for some of them they just can’t handle that. In recent decades, sports organizations have been regulating the use of drugs in sport very severely to ensure that there is equal opportunity for others and decrease the potential health risks linked with drug use.
The issue of drug abuse in sports is very prevalent in modern times and considering that you have most likely watched or played a lot of sports, it would come as a shock to find out that in just 2011, over 30% of participates in the 13th IAAF World Championships (held in South Korea) for athletics had used a banned substance in the past 12 months prior to competing. A high-profile drug cases include Dwain Chambers who tested positive for THG in 2003 resulting in him being stripped from a European title and record he received the year previously. Just this example alone shows the detrimental effects that taking drugs can have on a career so why anyone even consider doing something as preposterous as this.
Even though the consequences are severe, there are a variety of reasons why athletes still choose to take these substances. Some are entirely genuine, for example, treating medical conditions for disease. Unfortunately, many of these drugs have performance enhancing attributes that are even more effective when used above the recommended amount. This subsequently results in the abuse of these substances and is also why instead of being banned all together, there are just restrictions on the amount you can obtain in order to prevent the over use. Another reason that athletes may decide to take drugs is because in today’s society, sport is becoming more of a business and winning for the glory is no longer the most important thing, but instead the fame and exposure you receive for being at the top.
In of sport, drugs are readily available to those who are willing to seek them out. The most substances common are Steroids and Stimulants (both of which should be avoided). Steroids, although being very popular should not be mistaken as a friendly drug that just your execution of particular movements and actions. This is because research and tests have shown that side-effects are only alleviated should the use of controlled steroids be allowed under close medical supervision and the quite serious and common side-effects include: intramuscular abscesses, infections, high blood pressure and cholesterol which in my opinion is more than enough to deter me along with most intelligent people away from using these or any kind of performance enhancing drug.
The responses from sports organizations has been to prohibit the use of performance enhancing drugs while also having firm guidelines and penalties for those who have been caught consuming them. At first this wasn’t very effective as the first institute to take this matter serious in 1928, only relied on the word of the athlete so even though they still banned people from taking part, it was not very efficient for obvious reasons. The first tests for athletes were in 1966, a few years before anabolic steroids became a major issue. Regardless of when testing was implemented or not, medical progression has always been ahead of sports regulators ability to improve testing methods making it difficult to control the issue.
Different sports have reacted differently to handle the doping epidemic, each with their own success. An example of a sport that have been receiving disapproval from general sports fans, is soccer. This because the federations involved with the sport, aren’t doing that much in the fight against drug use and are letting players get away with doping. Although I am personally against doping and would like most people to be as well, I don’t really see the problem with the way the sport is handling the issue.
My reasoning for this is quite simple and for those of you who are soccer fans will understand this immediately, drug use is impossible to stop as an entirety and with there being 65 00 professional players in the world (as of 2014). Even though there are so many athletes, drug use isn’t a major problem even when compared tax paying in issues Spain.
While this is mostly down to soccer being one of, if not the biggest sport in the world, so players are educated and intelligent enough to make the right decision, it is also down the culture around the sport as it has produced some of the best athletes the planet has ever seen such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar Jr. Common sense plays a major part in the culture as well because players know that to make it to the top they have to be squeaky clean and stand out in a team of 10 other players, or that they won’t win anything for that team if they are the only one doping.
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