Real damage of steroids is to young athletes

I've never met nor even talked on the phone with Levi Leipheimer. From what I've read and heard, he seems like a decent enough person and he has certainly done much to enhance cycling in our area.

Levi Leipheimer

I've never met nor even talked on the phone with Barry Bonds. From what I've read and hear, he seems like a detestable man who did much to enhance baseball in the Bay Area.

And, that's the rub. Good people and bad people alike have been caught in the insidious web of performance enhancing drugs. For me, it has always been a situation of love (or loath) the man, hate the sin.

I am sure that Leipheimer, Lance Armstrong and all the others caught up in the cycling scandal, believed they had to dope to be successful. The same could be said of Bonds, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez and all the other baseball players caught up in that sport's scandal.

Keeping all this in perspective, it has to be noted that the current doping scandal is nothing new. Athletes have been linked to drugs of one kind or another since the beginning of professional sports.

Babe Ruth was a heavyweight consumer of alcohol. My all-time sports hero as a kid was Mickey Mantle, an admitted full-fledged alcoholic. In the 1980s, Major League baseball players popped methamphetamines like they were M&Ms. Orlando Cepeda and Keith Hernandez were among the many Major Leaguers who were caught in cocaine scandals. It shouldn't surprise us to find that many of our sports heroes have feet of clay and drug-enhanced bodies.

The test is how they handle their problem. Do they confront it, admit it and get help or do they deny, deny, deny hoping the evidence will go away. Of course, it never does.

I wish no one, not even Barry Bonds, any ill will. I am saddened by the way Leipheimer, Armstrong, Melky Cabrera and the others have tarnished their respective sport, but I seek no revenge or even justice.

What I want is for them to come clean about what they did, why they did it and what it cost them so that the cycle doesn't keep repeating.

The bottom line is that performance enhancing drugs are bad for the body. They can cause irreparable harm and even death.

It is a message that too often gets lost in our rush to sensationalize and condemn those who use steroids and other drugs. The evidence is clear. Among the many known side effects of steroid use are acne, shrunken testicles, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, liver malfunction, enlarged prostate, loss of head hair in men and growth of facial and body hair in women, impotency and increased aggression (roid rage). The list goes on.

These are proven facts.

Steroids can serve useful medicinal purposes, but their use must be tightly controlled by physicians who have the patients' best interest in mind.

The abuse of steroids and other so-called performance enhancing drugs can have disastrous, life-threatning and even life-taking results. They are every bit as dangerous as alcohol, methamphetamines, cocaine or any other body or mind-altering drug.

What the glamorous athletes who used performance-enhancing drugs did was cheat their sport, their reputations and their bodies.

Even worse, they endangered the lives of young athletes who would emulate their heroes, and view these drugs as the way to fame and riches.

The truth can be seen in the headlines in every newspaper in the country. What the use of these drugs lead to is disgrace, ruin and severe health problems. That is what Levi Leipheimer and Barry Bonds should be telling young athletes.

http://www.petaluma360.com/article/20121025/COMMUNITY/121029699/-1/community?Title=Real-damage-of-steroid-use-is-to-young-athletes

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