October 19, 2015
Don't always follow pro athletes' lead
One of the things that I hear too often is “the professional athletes use it so why shouldn’t I?” This ranges from multi-colored tape jobs to alternative forms of health care.
Well, there are many reasons why it really might not be a good idea. First, keep in mind that professional athletes will do anything to succeed at their sport.
My sport, cycling, has been notoriously drug-enhanced. I defended Lance Armstrong all the way to his TV confession. The most drug-tested athlete in the history of sport, who had apparently passed every single one of those drug tests, was guilty as sin.
Proving that drug testing is a farce. That even the best tests can be beaten.
With millions at stake, the NFL is packed with people who will do anything to play the game. A first round draft pick that plays for five years will be wealthy beyond our comprehension for the rest of their lives unless they’re really stupid.
Even some athletes without huge financial incentives follow the same pattern. Several years ago, Olympic athletes were asked if they would give up two years of their life for a gold medal. Overwhelmingly, they said yes.
These are athletes that rarely are able to make a decent living at their sport. Yet, for one moment of glory, they would give up two years of their life.
Most of what we’re talking about is Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED’s). You’ve heard the term. It’s a problem in sports that just won’t go away.
The first thing most people think about with PED’s is steroids. More specifically, anabolic steroids. Athletes will take them to get bigger and stronger.
Back in the early 1980’s, many of us, yours truly included, insisted that there was no evidence that steroids made you bigger and/or stronger. Those using steroids were laughing at us behind our backs.
Because they do make you bigger and stronger, but at a tremendous cost. Like impotence. Yeah … really.
Like liver disease, kidney disease, heart disease such as heart attack and stroke, high blood pressure.
Like hair loss and acne.
Females on anabolic steroids can grow hair, get deep voices, and have menstrual irregularities. Males on anabolic steroids can grow breasts.
Anabolic steroids can cause increased aggression, irritability and altered moods.
There are other things that athletes are using to enhance their performance. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is one. I can’t even begin to tell you how dangerous HGH can be.
The one that is probably the biggest problem around here is stimulants. The bad news is that those can be bought in any convenience market in the country. Marketed as “energy” products, they come in pill and drink form and under a lot of different names.
But they are all basically just stimulants. Check the ingredients.
And 16-year-old athletes (or any 16 year olds, really) do not need to be taking chemical stimulants.
Joe Black, PT, DPT, SCS, ATC is a physical therapist and athletic trainer at Total Rehabilitation and is Manager of Outpatient Rehabilitation for Blount Memorial Hospital. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to write to him. http://www.thedailytimes.com/columns/joe_black/don-t-always-follow-pro-athletes-lead/article_be904c6b-e446-54f1-a3b2-490b46130fc8.html