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Athletes and Performance Improvement

Athletes are always striving to be the best and so are always looking for ways to improve their performance. When they have exhausted all regular means, such as specialized training, personalized diets, a regular workout, and a healthy lifestyle, the often feel they need a little something more to give them the edge. This is when they are tempted to turn to drugs for that extra boost which will take them to the top. Often, drug-taking by athletes is coerced by coaches whose careers may depend on having the winning team. In professional sports, and particularly in the Olympic games, the pressure to win is overwhelming to many, and they succumb to the temptation of a little extra help.

The drugs used vary depending on the type of sport being engaged in. For instance, football players, baseball players, and basketball players, and especially weight-lifters need to build muscle mass and often use androstenedione and other muscle-building drugs. The NBA has just banned androstenedione (andro), as well as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), (both over-the-counter supplements) another steroid hormone, and other steroid precursors (Wyche, 2000). Similar action has been taken in major league baseball (McKinley, 2000). DHEA and andro are produced in the testicles, ovaries and adrenal glands, and so are considered naturally occurring substances and so are classed as dietary supplements and not drugs. Anabolic steroid not only help build muscle, but also help athletes recover more quickly from injuries (McKinley, 2000). On the down side, they have also been linked in scientific studies to heart disease, stroke and liver disease.

Currently, epogen is widely used as a performance-enhancing drug (Zorpette, 2000). Epogen is a naturally occurring hormone in the body, and when it is injected it boosts the concentration of red blood cells. Epogen is used to treat patients in kidney failure who have a deficiency of the hormone and so suffer f...

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