April 23, 2015
Brian Cuban: I am your child
By: Brian Cuban In June of 2000, I was placed on an operating table and put under general anesthesia at Medical City Hospital in Dallas Texas. The goal was to save my left leg. My last thought as I counted backwards from ten into my propofol-induced slumber was to wonder what life would be like with one leg. A loss brought on by my abuse of anabolic steroids. Brought on by my overwhelming desire for acceptance. My desire to fit in. I am your child. A massive staph infection had spread from my lower quadriceps where I had injected myself with anabolic steroids to just below my pelvis. When I woke up, and looked down, I breathed a huge sigh of relief. It was still there. I am however, left with daily visual reminders in the scarring and the physical reminders in the loss of some function. I am your child. I had been abusing anabolic steroids for years. I thought I was invincible when I first began to inject myself. A former professional football player and professional wrestler introduced me to them. He brought them into my gym in black medical bag. He told me they were my road to life achievement, dates, and popularity. I could be like him. I wanted to be like him. I wanted to feel like I was loved and part of the group. I needed no further prodding. He showed my how to inject myself. He is your child. I was not a world-class athlete. I was not competitive body builder. I was a shy young man who was simply looking for a way to be accepted. To get a date. To be popular. I thought that the change of body that the steroids produced would achieve what can only be achieved by self-love and self-acceptance. Through a healthy self-image. I have also been hospitalized twice for heart problems related to steroid use. I have man boobs otherwise known as “gyno” a common side effect of anabolic steroid use. I have had another staph infection removed from my buttocks. I have battled eating disorders, alcoholism, drug addiction and depression. I came dangerously close to taking my life in 2005 only to be saved at the last moment by my family. All of these things are known to be co-occurring with anabolic steroid use. I am still your child. Why am I your child? Not because he or she will take my path to satisfy a need for self-and peer groups acceptance. Each path is as unique as each child, determined by biology/genes and the complicated, unpredictable impact of our environment whether its at home, at school, at play, on Facebook or in the field of competition. I am your child because like the majority of kids who experiment with steroids, I was just a young man who wanted acceptance. It is a myth that the majority of teens who abuse anabolic steroids and other performance enhancing drugs and supplements are those looking for the competitive edge on the athletic field. According to the Taylor Hooton Foundation, whose mission it is to educate parents, educators, coaches and teens about the dangers of steroid abuse, the vast majority first use to simply look better and feel better about themselves.One and one-half million middle and high school students are currently abusing performance-enhancing substances. They are your children. To be clear, parents don’t cause addiction whether its steroids, drugs, alcohol. They are biologically based but driven and triggered by environmental factors. Some we can control, some we cant. We can’t control the perfect images we see online that so many young men and women strive for. We can’t control the peer pressure at school to fit in and be like the other guy or girl who is going to the prom or dating the popular person. We can control what comes out of our mouths about appearance, food and body image. What we tell our children about what is important in life. Speak about body self acceptance. Lead by example. You ultimately can’t control the countless roads to self-acceptance your child may take but you can provide a path. Do your best to ensure that that I am not your child.