Rugby has always been fascinating to me. It is adrenaline packed and fun to either watch, play or coach. If I were to choose a sport that I would coach it would be rugby. The game calls for a lot of physical energy and sometimes athletes can be tempted to use a performance-enhancing drug to improve their performance. The use of the drugs can be legal or illegal depending on the sport and the kind of performance enhancement drugs used. There are several benefits and potential side effects when it comes to using performance enhancement drugs.
Benefits of using performance enhancement drugs
One of the key benefits of using steroids in sports is the ability for the muscles to heal quickly (National Institute on Drug Abuse). During the rigorous competition, an athlete may get wound, or the muscles may tear. However, by waiting for the natural process to work, the wound or the tissues take a long time to heal (Beiner et al. 7). Most enhancement drugs contain anabolic hormones which play a critical role in the healing process. By using the drug, an athlete shortens the time that to would have taken for him/her to heal (Miller and Btaiche 2009). It, therefore, plays a critical role especially for a professional athlete who would like to recover quickly and get back to the game without waiting for the natural process to take place.
Steroids are also responsible for an increase in the muscle strength. The most common steroids contain testosterone which increases the bench press strength and increase the cycling performance (Wolffenbuttel et al.). Although a person can gain muscle without using steroids, the time take to regain the strength is more compared to a person who has resorted to the use of the drugs (Rogerson et al.) Muscle strength is essential in the sport and can be the difference between winning and losing a game. By using drug enhancement, an athlete will benefit from a high performance because of his/her ability to perform the tough tasks (Kochakian 2010). Finally, the drug increases the body size of an athlete which is a critical component of rugby sport.
Potential side effects of using the drugs
Despite the benefits that performance enhancement drugs have, they also pose adverse effects that may harm the athlete. An athlete may experience several side effects if they abuse the drug. Some of the common ways that people abuse the drugs include, taking the medications in irregular intervals, combining different drugs or increasing the drug intake gradually until it starts having adverse effects (National Institute on Drug Abuse). The drug may stimulate the release of dopamine which makes an individual feel like taking other drugs. Other short-term effects include paranoia, feeling irritable and having impaired judgments. The mood swings are often referred to as "roid rage" and affects people differently.
Individuals using enhancement drugs may also suffer from long-term effects such as kidney problems and failure (National Institute on Drug Abuse). The liver may also be affected by the excessive or abusive use of the drugs. Other long-term side effects include high blood pressure, heart attacks, increased risk of stroke and high level of cholesterol (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Men using the drugs may also experience baldness, decrease in sperm count and development of breasts. On the other hand, women may experience male pattern baldness, deepened voice, the growth of facial hair and the menstrual cycle may stop or become irregular (National Institute on Drug Abuse)
Beiner, John M., et al. "The Effect of Anabolic Steroids and Corticosteroids on Healing of Muscle Contusion Injury." The American Journal of Sports Medicine, vol. 27, no. 1, 1999, pp. 2-9.
Kochakian, C. D. "Metabolic Effects of Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids in Experimental Animals." Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids, 2010, pp. 5-44.
Miller, James T., and Imad F. Btaiche. "Oxandrolone Treatment in Adults with Severe Thermal Injury." Pharmacotherapy, vol. 29, no. 2, 2009, pp. 213-226.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. "Anabolic Steroids." National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) |, 2015, www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/anabolic-steroids. Accessed 31 May 2018.
Rogerson, Shane, et al. "The Effect of Short-Term Use of Testosterone Enanthate on Muscular Strength and Power in Healthy Young Men." The Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, vol. 21, no. 2, 2007, p. 354.
Wolffenbuttel, B.H.R., et al. "2.P.265 Effects of androgenic anabolic steroids (AAS) on apolipoproteins and lipoprotein(a)." Atherosclerosis, vol. 134, no. 1-2, 1997, p. 171.
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