The juice is loose: Steroids taint careers

By Brittany Liberatore
April 27, 2006


We live in a world where bigger usually means better, only the strong survive and every person from your best friend to your grandmom care about their physical appearance. Athletes are becoming bigger and stronger- hitting farther, tackling harder and throwing faster. There isn’t a new breed of athletes but there is a new way to enhance strength and performance. This is not by traditional hard work, but rather by the quick fix of steroids.

Steroid abuse is a rising problem. Although it is most commonly publicized when used by professional athletes, steroids interest a large scale of people ranging from men to women, athletes to adolescents. The quick results that steroids produce are appealing to the masses. However, steroid use can prove to be more damaging than beneficial.

“I wanted to get an edge on the lacrosse field,” said a lacrosse player at Division I Towson University. Matt, to keep his anonymity, started using steroids in high school because he felt the pressure to get bigger and stronger to win a starting spot. After learning about the dangers that steroid use poses, Matt felt embarrassed for using them to get an edge and stopped.

The most common steroids used are anabolic-androgenic steroids. The term anabolic refers to muscle building and the term anabolic refers to masculine characteristics. Steroids are taken orally or injected in cycles of weeks or months.

Bigger and faster, that’s all Matt wanted to be. Anabolic-androgenic steroids seemed like the answer. Well, the answer came quick. Shortly after beginning the steroids, Matt saw the results he wanted. But while getting bigger and faster, he also got extremely moody. Matt came to his senses after two years of on-and-off steroid use. He kicked the habit and said he would never use again.

Liver tumors, cancer, severe acne and high blood pressure are all major side effects of steroid abuse. While and after using steroids; men may experience shrinking of the testicles, infertility, development of breasts, or baldness. Women who use steroids, run the risk of growing facial hair, having a deepened voice or male-pattern baldness. Adolescents who may not realize the dangers of steroids can experience a halt in their growth. By using steroids adolescents risk remaining short for the rest of their lives.

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, in 2004 3.4 percent of high school seniors have used steroids. A former high school football player, whom we will call Dan, used steroids his senior year of high school. Dan said, “I have six shots and 10 needles sitting in my room and I will never touch them again. My mood swings were horrible and every one could tell something was different about me.”

Scientific research has shown that steroid use has major effects on the emotions of the user. There is more aggression that may lead to violence, depression, paranoid jealousy, delusion and of course mood swings.

Dr. Gary Wadler, a New York University School of Medicine professor, has done much research on steroids and their negative effects. During an interview with ESPN Wadler said, “The dangers may not be manifesed for months, years and even decades. Therefore, long after you gave them up you may develop side effects.”

Controversy has been circulating in professional sports over certain athletes who have been accused of using steroids. The most recent allegations have been against the San Francisco Giants power hitter Barry Bonds. According to, 334 of Bonds’ 708 home runs appear to be tainted.

Bonds is not the only major league baseball player who has been targeted for steroid use. Out of 21 players who hit at least 500 career homeruns, nine have played at least five seasons where they have been speculated to have been using steroids.

Sophomore human resources and management major Julian Cruz is a fan of Barry Bonds.

Cruz said, “Bonds has hit so many home runs and is so powerful. But if it is true that he used steroids, I don’t think any of his homeruns count.”

A former football player for Division III Albright College is against using steroids after witnessing first hand the effects steroids have on people. John, as we will call him for confidentiality, said, “It’s not fair at all that these people take steroids because it is cheating. While others are lifting in the weight room, these people gain mass and strength very easily. It totally eliminates the creed of most sports players which is to work hard on and off the field and to be dedicated to the team.”

According to the NCAA research staff, since 1997, steroid use has increased in every division of sports. In all collegiate sports, there are drug tests that are given randomly or after suspicion of illegal drug use.

The Albright alumnus said, “Some coaches know when their players are on steroids because of how fast the player gains strength. Any coach that has been around the game for a while knows how fast most people gain muscle and can tell when it is artificial. Some coaches would give a drug test but some don’t care because it will help them to win.”

Any person can go into GNC to buy the closest product to legal steroids. Fizogen On Cycle is an anabolic/androgenic enhancement. The On Cycle promotes muscle growth; steroids promote muscle growth. Is there much difference?

Brandon Longacre, a GNC employee, said, “The On Cycle is on when the body is ready to workout and then off when the body is building muscle. It is the closest product to steroids that we sell.”

Rachel Davis, freshman biology major, sees nothing but danger when it comes to steroids. Davis said, “When people take steroids they are messing with their body’s natural balance of hormones. I don’t see how it’s worth taking steroid just to gain muscle when at the same time your messing up your health.”

Posted to the web by Brian Coary

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Brittany Liberatore

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