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Posted by on Dec 26, 2012 in Featured, Health, Law, Sports | 12 comments

Take Steroids out of College Football (Guest Voice)

Take steroids out of college football (via The Christian Science Monitor)

Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma should be a highly entertaining college bowl matchup, featuring A&M’s Johnny Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy that symbolizes college football’s top player. And that bowl game, one of a plethora, is just the warm-up act to the national championship game…

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  • ShannonLeee

    Ha, talk about clueless. Steroids in sports is a highschool problem. The only hope for highschool kids is the knowledge that they could be tested before signing their scholarships and throughout their college career. We might then see kids thinking twice about steroid use.

  • Dr. J

    The use of anabolic steroids in college sports is banned because the drugs are linked to numerous ill effects, including serious physical and mental problems.

    And football isn’t? It has the highest injury rate of any college sport, and it appears to cause long-term brain damage. Is there evidence that steroids are anywhere near as dangerous, particularly if used as part of a supervised training regimen?

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Texas A&M vs. Oklahoma should be a highly entertaining college bowl matchup, featuring A&M’s Johnny Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy that symbolizes college football’s top player.

    And it will be a great, entertaining bowl game proudly “featuring A&M’s Johnny Manziel, the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy that symbolizes college football’s top player.”

    And a little disappointed that the author chose to use Johnny Football and Texas A&M in his introductory paragraph with all the attending implications.

    Gig’em Aggies!

  • dduck

    As far as hurting young people, this subject is comparable in some ways to the gun debate. Through competitive, peer, and yes economic pressure, kids are getting hurt, some permanently in numbers that may be very large. Even without drugs some sports are dangerous, but add drugs in and it could be an epidemic.

    If I have misstated anything, I apologize as this is just my first impression of the issue.

  • ShannonLeee

    As someone that has played different sports at different levels, I have the aches, pains, and chronic problems that come from contact/collision sports. I’ll take the pain, considering the life experiences and general health advantages that I have in return. Football is an extreme collision sport and it does need to become safer. The recent rules to the game will hopefully improve player health and they have not made the game less interesting. More should, and will, be done.

    As DD mentions, we could cop out like the NRA and say that football is just a game where people choose to injure one another. Don’t blame the rules for the players behavior 🙂

  • dduck

    SL, I hope you were in an age that didn’t have as much pressure to use drugs as it seems to be now.

  • ShannonLeee

    DD, I was a young teenager when athletes started dropping dead from steroid use, so dangers were obvious. That being said, one of the best athletes in my school was taking steroids and used to receive envelopes full of money from recruiters. Oddly enough, that guy did not make it to pros, but another guy who was clean did…full career in the NFL.

    The advantage in high school is massive, but it aint worth it. And roid rage ain’t pretty.

  • dduck

    Thanks, SL.

  • Dr. J

    I see three questions here. The first is how dangerous steroids are, and the OP and Shannon’s comments imply they’re very dangerous. I don’t think the evidence backs that up, particularly when they’re used responsibly. As the OP suggests, their use is already widespread, yet gyms around the world don’t seem to be strewn with bodies. This paper suggests that the dangers are material but exaggerated.

    The second question is about policy: however dangerous we decide steroids are, how much harm could be prevented by a different policy? Dduck fears an epidemic if people start using steroids, yet the OP acknowledges that they already have. And, despite steroids already being quite illegal, it doesn’t propose a more specific policy than “cleaning up steroid use.” Perhaps we can keep people safer by declaring war on drugs? Again, the evidence of the past few decades offers little support for this belief.

    The third question: to what extent should government prevent people from making dangerous choices? Rational people may disagree; my libertarian answer is “not much.” But if you believe otherwise and agree with the OP, you’ll need to explain why we should crack down even harder on steroid dealers and users (somehow; the penalties are already big), yet we should allow football coaches and players to remain at large, given football’s almost certainly higher casualty rate.

  • ShannonLeee

    Dr J, good questions. All I can speak from is what I have been taught and what I have seen in the gym or athletic field.

    As for responsible steroid use? Never thought about it. Carl Lewis used steroids during his career and has yet to drop dead from it. There is an argument for adult, noncompetitive use under professional supervision. I simply would not risk it. I’ve been in a lot of gyms where guys used to the stuff to just get big. They tended to injure themselves a lot, but again, they did not have professional trainers watching them.

    As for in competitive sports…it really should not be allowed. The advantage is just too much. According to those that use, you can workout all day…you dont get tired…and you dont get sore. The strength and aggressiveness gained from steroid use gives a person a serious edge. As long as the medical community says that stuff is bad for you, we should not allow it in competitive sports. People that refuse to use will have a very hard time competing.

    Teenagers and college age use is a different story. The stuff gets into your brain and can do permanent personality damage during development.

  • Dr. J

    Shannon, I’m skeptical about those claims of permanent personality damage. They may be true, I just haven’t seen the evidence that demonstrates it statistically.

    And I heard the same thing about marijuana. I worry that the steroid discussion–and even decisions about funding research into steroid effects–tends to be dominated by a sort of reefer madness.

  • dduck

    What SL said.
    Incidentally, has anyone else noticed that this thread is somewhat similar to the gun threads?
    Freedom to use a dangerous thing for your enjoyment or to give yourself a physical edge or advantage. Just askin.

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