Use Of Drugs
- The dangers of performance enhancing drug use, eg physical effects, loss of reputation, sponsorship and income
- For strength (human growth hormone, anabolic steroids)
- For aerobic performance (EPO)
- To mask other drugs (diuretics, alcohol)
- Benefits and limitations of drug testing
The Dangers of Performance Enhancing Drug Use
- Drug screening (Dope tests) are common for elite athletes.
- News of a positive dope test could spread really fast through the media.
- Loss of reputation will follow, players are often banned for life from participating in a sport.
- Players also lose sponsors since no brand would want to associate with defaulters.
- The chain of events trigger mental conditions such as anxiety and depression.
- Often, athletes intake human growth hormones (HGH) as supplements to enhance strength and power development.
- Side effects include:
- Pain in the nerve, muscle and joint
- Muscular weakness due to under development
- Elevated cholesterol
- Disposition of a giant (large chins, ears, hands, feet)
- Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
- Some athletes also enhance power development by changing body composition using anabolic steroids. These come with severe health implications as well.
For Aerobic Performance
- Erythropoietin (EPO) is a hormone that is naturally produced in our body by the kidneys for synthesis of red blood cells (RBC).
- Some individuals take extra EPO from external sources to trigger more RBC production leading to heightened levels of oxygen transport facilitating aerobic activities.
- Excessive RBC in blood can increase blood pressure and lead to:
- Heart disease
- Cerebral or pulmonary embolism
- Block and damage to the arteries
To Mask Other Drugs
- Diuretics dehydrate the body quite quickly and triggers eliminations of water through urine.
- When the urine becomes dilute, the presence of drugs cannot be detected precisely.
- Because of this mechanism that could easily hoodwink a dope test, the use of diuretics and alcohol is banned in many sports.
Benefits and Limitations of Drug Testing
- Restraining athletes from cheating maneuvers by using drugs
- Ensuring fair play and good sportsmanship is maintained
- Promotion of safety and equity in sports
- Limited to a certain spectrum of drugs.
- Often athletes are exposed in front of testers so there’s a concern regarding privacy.
- The testing methods are sophisticated and therefore expensive.