Bigger, Faster, Stronger

Are Spartan athletes at risk of falling under the influence ofsteroids?

Bigger, Faster, Stronger

Jacob DeLoache, Sports editor

You see it in the highest levels of sports. In Major League Baseball, the National Football League and pro cycling, steroids have cast a plague upon professional and colligate athletics in recent years, and now the epidemic is poised to spill onto the high school playing fields. In a recent survey conducted by the Food and Drug Administration, steroid use among high school athletes has risen by 11%. With more and more adolescent athletes seeking a short cut to success, the lurer of steroids becomes stronger and stronger.

So what can be done to combat this terrifying new trend? For one thing, there must be a descrese in the amount of pressure our society as a whole places on its young athletes. With players of all sports working themselves into nervous wrecks over excelling in their respective sport or striving for a scholarship and a chance at a free ride through college, it is easy to see why student athletes could lose sight of what’s really important and become sucked into the black whole that is steroid abuse. Steroids offer you a cutting edge over your opponent, an X-factor, which is undeniable. This is the glamorous side of steroid use. What is beyond the veneer is a world of rage and addiction which some may never return from.

Side effects from steroid abuse include mood swings, fits of violent rage, organ failure, cardiac arrest and in some cases, even death.

So why then are high school student athletes still making the choice to use steroids even with this information available?

To find out, I decided to do some investigating. In the process, I came into contact with a Spartan athlete who gave me an inside look at steroid use and the thought process which leads students down steroids dark path.

Sam Dempsey, a two year starter on the Spartan’s Football team, first started experimenting with steroids during the off season between his sophomore and junior year. During the summer strength and conditioning program, there was a high value placed on “getting big” for the season, as Sam put it. Sam used steroids throughout the summer, pausing only to “get clean” before the drug test held at the beginning of the school year. During the brief interlude in which Sam was completely drug free, he felt week, irritable and prone to sudden, violent fits of rage of which his girlfriend fell victim to on several occasions and eventually caused her to leave him. The couple had been together since their freshmen year.

To compinsate for his bad mood, Sam drank heavily to “take the edge off,” as he’s said. After the drug test had been administrated, Sam went right back to his disciplined regiment of steroids with renewed purpose as he made up for lost time. The weekly dosages of steroids paid dividends for Sam. He was a work horse for the Spartans, contributing greatly to both the Spartans conference and State championship titles. But the”juice” had exacted a price on Sam. Whenever he wasn’t under the influence of steroids, his feelings of fatigue and anger reappeared in force. Also, Sam began to notice physical changes as well. His hair began to thin, his skin took on a yellowish pigment and his testicles began to shrink. Despite these startling occurrences, Sam never skipped a cycle.

The party ended when Sam’s mother finally caught on to what was happening over christmas break. Sam, who was already starting to fold under the guilt of what he had done, confessed everything to his mom. Sam’s parents grounded him for the rest of the year and had him drug tested him every week by a private physician until they were convinced he was clean for good. Sam now continues to play for the Spartans football team.

Sam may have come through his substance abuse in one piece, but he is by no means the norm. Many athletes who’ve dabbled in steroids (especially teens) contract respiratory and corinary conditions that are long lasting and even life threatening.

It is through Sam’s story that we see the true horrors that lie within steroid abuse, and it is up to each of us to see that we learn from others mistakes to foster a student culture which is healthy both on the field and in the class room.


Disclaimer: Although the story of Sam Dempsey is true his name has been fabricated to protect his anonymity.