Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Performance Enhancing Drugs in High School?

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Now when many people think of High School sports they think of it being as a time of development. This is a time in which young students are able to develop movement based skills, as well as create strong character, and social bonds. This though, I feel is starting to not become the main purpose of High School athletics. The pressure that is being put on these athletes at a such a young age is increasing drastically, in turn the length that some students athletes will go to in order to succeed is changing.
Believe it, or not performance enhancing drugs are becoming prevalent among High School athletes just for this very reason. These pressures to succeed have driven many athletes to drugs such as creatine, which is mild in comparison to anabolic steroids, and pro-hormones such as DHEA which are precursors to anabolic steroids. According to the MAYO Clinic other reasons as to why High School aged students may take these drugs is due to poor body image, a desire to gain muscle, and of course peer and parental expectations. When I was in High School steroids were in fact present, but I was brought up by my Step-Father to think of performance enhancing drugs as being as bad as other illegal substances, so I stayed away from them. I could see the dramatic effects that it had on some of my peers, increasing their size and strength tremendously within short periods of time. I always felt a pride in myself though, knowing that I was able to perform naturally, and never had to resort to that type of supplement. Some though are not genetically geared toward strength and size, and this they feel is their only route. As a parent and teacher one most educate their children on the ill effects steroids can have on their body and health. They must be held to a standard, and be accountable for their actions if they do in fact choose to go this route, (example, quitting the team). Also as a parent and teacher you must know what the warning signs look like for students who are using performance enhancing drugs, such as a drastic change in attitude, increased musculature, and "moon" face just to name a few. As a physical educator though you must educate your students about these risks, and stand as a role model so that students do not fall into groups that are using these performance enhancing drugs. 
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