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Steroids in Professional Sports and Youth Sports, WHY?

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It is in the wake of the Mitchell Report, which sheds light on the pervasive use of performance-enhancing substances (Steroids, HGH, etc.) in professional baseball, that I direct this blog's attention to an article in the Sports Parenting e-magazine titled Denial, Apathy, and Win-at-All-Costs Sports Culture Fuels Steroid Abuse by Bruce Svare, Ph.D,

In his article, Dr. Svare provides good insight into the “why” behind steroid use in sports today and suggests an approach that will decrease and deter the risk of their use by young athletes. It is his contention that the “winning at all costs” attitudes dominating professional and elite level sports, and filtering down into our sports society as a whole, is a major underlying factor in this issue. I wholly agree with this perspective and would only add that the amount of money, fame, and extravagant lifestyles our sports celebrities lead contributes greatly to this attitude. These extrinsic rewards have permeated sports at the highest levels giving many so-called sports “stars” the feeling that they are above the rules, and even above the law. You do not need to look very hard to find examples of this in the media, and the steroid scandals in sports today fit right in. It seems to me that whenever extrinsic motivators (rewards), like the ones mentioned above, become a primary goal for sports participation, then it is the athlete’s character that inevitably is sacrificed, in addition to the integrity of the sport diminishing.

Dr. Svare goes on to say that, "Denial, apathy and the desire to win also pervade the thinking of many overly competitive coaches and parents who frequently remark: ‘Steroids aren't a problem in our community,’" indicating that these attitudes have pierced the fabric of youth sports. This being the case then it is only logical to assume that the same issues, problems, and concerns regarding the use of performance-enhancing drugs will follow, and with a little research of your own you will find that they have.

What is the solution? Our attitudes about sports and the purpose behind why athletes play will need to change. The fun and true enjoyment (my next blog) of sports participation will need to come from somewhere and something other than the extrinsic rewards so many now hold in high regard. And where will this change need to occur? With the sports individuals of the future, our youth sports participants themselves. They control what will happen with sports in the years to come, and it is with them that we must all direct our focus.

I would encourage you to take the time to read Dr. Svare’s article. The information it provides and issue it raises is, from my standpoint, a very worthwhile read.

Published in: Sports Parenting e-Magazine (Nov.)
Parents for Good Sports, http://www.parentsforgoodsports.org/
Apathy, and Win-at-All-Costs Sports Culture Fuels Steroid Abuse

By Bruce Svare, Ph.D

Kirk Mango
Becoming a True Champion