by: Robert Regler
It seems like today’s athletes are becoming bigger, faster, and stronger. With the progression in research and understanding of the human body, athletes have been able to break barriers at an unprecedented rate. While some athletes credit their success to hard work and dedication, others have attempted to take shortcuts to success using performance enhancing drugs. The short-term effects of performance enhancing drugs creates can turn the average athlete into a super athlete. However, the long-term effects of performance enhancing drugs outweigh the short-lived benefits.
In a nutshell, performance enhancing drugs will increase an athlete’s performance in their respective field. The attribute the athlete wants to increase will determine which performance enhancing drug they will decide to take. However, these performance enhancing drugs come with a cost, whether it comes from a health perspective or a suspension through their athletic commission. Health effects vary depending on which performance enhancing drug is used, however one of the most common side effects across the board is adverse effects on one’s hormonal systems.
With performance enhancing drugs becoming a reoccurring problem, many athletic commissions have either increased the amount of testing or increased the penalty for someone if caught using these drugs. For example, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) was seeing an increase in use of performance enhancing drugs even with some of their most prominent fighters. As a result, they hired the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) on a multi-million-dollar deal to conduct competition drug testing. USADA can show up at a fighter’s doorstep at any time ensuring they remain clean year-round. In addition, if one tests positive for a banned substance, they can find themselves facing lengthy suspensions that will keep them out of competition. Most recently, UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw is serving a two-year suspension for the use of erythropoietin.
With testing becoming more frequent and the stakes becoming higher, it seems like a no brainer for athletes to remain clean. However, there are some athletes who cannot seem to stay out of trouble. Some believe they can cheat the system through cycling their performance enhancing drugs and some try to use masking agents to cover up what they have used. However, now that testing has become more advanced traces of performance enhancing drugs can be detected even with other factors involved.
The Southwest Council provides free presentations on drugs and alcohol for both parents, community members and for schools. If you are interested in having a presentation, please feel free to reach out at (856) 794-1011 or visit us online at www.southwestcouncil.org.