PED USE PLAGUES MAJOR AMERICAN SPORTS

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Pro athletes have been using PEDs illegally to get ahead in the game.

Robert Blaine, Reporter

Many thought that  the “Steroid Era,” which had rocked Major League Baseball in the ’90s, was over with the implementation of Performance Enhancing Drug (PED) testing in 2003.  The issue never seemed to fade away as numerous players were brought to trial, infamously headlined by names such as Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, despite the league’s insistence that it was cracking down on juicers.

Senior Garrett Jones believed it is still a “prevalent issue in the sport” even with the league trying to “create the perception that use has gone down.”

The issue has once again made its way into the national spotlight with the suspensions of thirteen MLB players.  While twelve have accepted their suspensions, among them former MVP Ryan Braun, Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees has chosen to appeal his suspension.  He is set to serve a 211-game ban if his formal appeal of the suspension is denied, but is continuing to play with his team as of now.

PEDs have been used by players in an attempt to gain an advantage in an ultra-competitive industry.  Even a slight improvement in performance can net a player millions of dollars on his next contract.  Almost all sports leagues have been forced to increase drug testing in response to a spike in player use.  As testing methods improve, players are finding new and more potent drugs that cannot be detected by their leagues’ current drug testing programs.

The National Football League has had many problems with the use of PEDs as well.  The NFL has been primarily plagued by use of human growth hormone (or HGH).  Drugs such as HGH are used in order to build up muscle for better performance.  Recently, Adderall has emerged as a major problem as well.  Adderall, which is generally used for treating people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, helps players to focus and improves player awareness.  Seattle Seahawks cornerbacks Richard Sherman and Brandon Browner are two of the players most recently suspended.

Sophomore Shachi Pandya saw the recent string of suspensions of players using drugs that focus on the mental rather than the physical state of players as a “major problem for the league’s current drug testing policy.”

Other leagues haven’t been as affected by the use of PEDs.  The National Basketball Association has had far less violators of its substance abuse policy.  This may be in part due to testing that is not as strict as in other sports, but also largely to the fact that “[it doesn’t] really help them” as junior Francisco Munoz-Grillasca put it.

As a sport where brute strength doesn’t provide as much benefit as finesse in many cases, basketball has not been plagued by use of steroids or HGH.  It may only be a matter of time before drugs that improve awareness similar to Adderall start to infiltrate the league, though.