Steroid Use Among High School Athletes

Maybe you saw the storyline on the first season of Friday Night Lights. Brian “Smash” Williams, the star running back for the Dillon Panthers, was told by a recruiter that he had to be stronger if he was going to make it into college football. In an act of desperation, Smash turned to steroids. He became irritable, angry, and frustrated. When his mom found out, she approached Coach Taylor, who struggled with how to punish Smash. In the end, Smash missed some important games and had to regain the trust of the most important people in his life.

Sport Role Models Using Steroids

Through the late 90s and early 2000s, steroid use came into the forefront of Major League Baseball. Players gained a lot of muscles quickly and raced to hit more home runs than their counterparts. This has created much discussion throughout MLB on how to crack down on these players. Even though he’s the all-time leader in home runs, Barry Bonds’ name will forever be marked with an asterisk because of his connection to steroids. In July 2013, Ryan Braun faced a 65-game suspension for taking performance-enhancing drugs. Shortly thereafter, 12 MLB players accepted a 50-game suspension. Alex Rodriguez faces a 200-game suspension (which he is currently appealing) for implicating other players. (Radutzky, 2013)

So what does a young high school player do when they see this? On one hand, they want to improve their game and know that steroids can increase strength, with harmful side effects. And they know it’s wrong. On the other hand, they see their heroes get away with time and time again.

This leads to a problem discussed in locker rooms around the nation. When athletes see the positive effects of steroids in the ball park or in the field, the lure can be appealing. But the darker side often isn’t told. “There has been a spate of high-school-athlete suicides in the past decade associated with steroid abuse; teens are particularly at risk because the pattern of cycling on and off these drugs messes with their hormone levels, leading to mood swings and severe depression.” (Butterworth, 2012)

With the high expectations of some sports programs, athletes will sometimes turn to steroids to quickly gain an edge in their sport. But the effects can be far-reaching and detrimental to a young athlete.