Drug consumption by amateur and professional athletes is a major issue. In 2016, more than 1.81% of athletes tested by the world anti-doping agency had overdosed on drugs. In order to effectively control this growing problem, drug tests have become common in every sport.
Why Athletes Abuse Drugs
Athletes are expected to give their best performance on the ground. In order to meet the expectations of their team, coaching staff, and fans, some athletes turn to drugs to enhance their strength. This is the reason why doping tests are performed to prevent athletes from consuming drugs that can tamper with their health.
Sports-related injuries sometimes end up ruining the careers of athletes. In order to retain their position on the team, they tend to hide their physical health problems and often delay treatments for injuries as long as they can. They may use drugs banned by sports authorities to speed up recovery and have them performing at their best again.
When athletes lose their form, they are criticized due to their failures, which leads to stress and anxiety. Many athletes take steroids so as to enhance their performance. However, they might not opt for such drugs if only they know about the consequences of this decision.
Drug Testing: Benefits
You may remember in 1998 Major League Baseball when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa did their best to break the record of the most home runs hit, set by Roger Maris. Mark McGwire won the race by scoring 70 home runs and beating the competition by 4 runs.
However, baseball fans were shocked and deeply saddened when McGwire declared in 2010 that he was able to achieve this record only because he consumed androstenedione drugs that helped him enhance his strength and build muscle.
At that time, drug testing in sports events wasn’t as common as it is today, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to get away with cheating in such a manner.
Here are a few reasons why drug testing in sports is crucial:
Stops Illegal Drug Use
Athletes should take good care of their health. A healthy diet and regular physical training gives them strength and makes it easier to perform on the field. However, not everyone can handle the fame as well as the stress, so some sportspeople turn to illegal drugs.
Recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are performance-reducing drugs that negatively affect their physical as well as mental health. While marijuana is now legalized in many states in the US, it is not suitable for professional athletes.
Through doping tests, it’s possible to determine whether or not an athlete takes illegal drugs, after which sports authorities can charge the culprit with bans and fines.
Controls Health Risks
Some athletes take recreational drugs for fun, while many sportspeople use drugs such as steroids to enhance their performance and secure their position on a team. However, this action often backfires and athletes end up risking their lives.
While steroids build muscle and help professionals temporarily enhance their strength and performance, it is extremely harmful to their health in the long run. This is the reason why drug tests were introduced. Through doping tests, sports authorities can identify whether any athlete consumed drugs and ban them from their league.
The following professional athletes were banned from participating in sports activities for varying time periods:
- Dwain Chambers – Banned for 2 years and asked to return the earnings from the time when he was on drugs
- Lance Armstrong – He won the Tour de France race for 7 years in a row, but he lost his titles due to drug abuse
- Michael Phelps – The most successful Olympics swimmer from the US was banned for 2 months when he tested positive for illegal drugs
- Marion Jones – After having won 3 gold medals and 2 bronze medals at the 2000 Olympics, she was asked to return her titles due to her involvement in a drug abuse case
Promotes Fair Play
Professional as well as amateur athletes are expected to compete with others in a fair way and abide by the rules of the game. However, when an athlete consumes steroids to enhance their performance through illegal means, it raises questions on the integrity and reputation of the game.
Drug testing techniques were introduced in sports to promote fair play. It ensures that no athlete enjoys an unfair advantage over other participants who are trying to win the game without implementing unfair tactics.
In this modern era, drug testing has become much more sophisticated. Before every major sports event at both domestic and international levels, the participants are asked to undergo drug testing. However, drug addict athletes have also become cautious of this, and those still using try their best not to get caught.
Athletes go for blood doping to consume performance-enhancing drugs without getting caught. This procedure increases the blood’s ability to carry oxygen and improves aerobic capacity. They blood dope through a blood transfusion to increase their red blood cell count.
When blood is taken out for transfusion, platelets, red blood cells, AHF, and plasma are removed from the sample and then frozen. The red blood cells are then returned to the athlete’s body to increase their ability to carry oxygen. After re-infusion, anti-doping authorities can’t detect drug consumption.
As drug testing methods become more advanced, athletes have uncovered innovative techniques to avoid the detection of illegal drugs which is a risk to their lives. This is the reason why some sports scientists raise their voice in favor of the legalization of certain drugs. However, sports authorities rejected these claims to preserve the reputation of the games.
Athletes overdose on certain performance-enhancing drugs to perform better and win games. However, in order to retain the integrity of sports events and protect athletes from the adverse effects of drug consumption, anti-doping authorities test players before every sports event to ensure they don’t get into illegal activities. If you know any athletes struggling with drug abuse, or you yourself feel as though you might need help, reach out to us at Scottsdale Recovery Center. We treat all types of patients and provide some of the best care in the country. Reach out today with any questions or concerns, our specialists are always available to assist.
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