What makes a talented young athlete turn to steroid use?
That’s what people must have been thinking when they heard about Ryan Braun this week. The 28 year old, the National League MVP this past season, tested positive for performance enhancing drugs. Braun lead the Milwaukee Brewers to their first division title in almost 30 years.
Braun had a urine drug screen performed during the playoffs this fall, and the results showed elevated levels of testosterone. Further testing reportedly determined that the testosterone was synthetic, meaning it was not produced in Braun’s body.
Braun is disputing these results. His spokesperson told ESPN:
There are highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence and demonstrate there was absolutely no intentional violation of the program. While Ryan has impeccable character and no previous history, unfortunately, because of the process we have to maintain confidentiality and are not able to discuss it any further, but we are confident he will ultimately be exonerated.
For more details:
Anabolic steroids (AS) are artificial versions of testosterone, a hormone that all individuals have naturally in their bodies. Anabolic steroids, the most frequently abused of all steroids, are taken orally or injected to enhance athletic performance, increase stamina, and improve physical appearance. Anabolic means “muscle-building.” Steroids are often taken in cycles of weeks or months rather than continuously.
These drugs were originally developed in the late 1930s to treat diseases where the body is deficient in normal concentrations of sex hormones but were also found to increase the growth of skeletal muscles in laboratory animals. This led to the abuse of these substances, first by weightlifters and body builders but later by athletes in other sports as well.
Anabolic steroid abuse has been associated with a wide range of adverse side effects ranging from some that are physically unattractive, such as acne and breast development in men, to others that are life threatening, such as heart attacks and liver cancer.
Case reports and small studies indicate that anabolic steroids, when used in high doses, increase irritability and aggression. Some steroid abusers report that they have committed aggressive acts, such as physical fighting or armed robbery, theft, vandalism, or burglary. Abusers who have committed aggressive acts or property crimes generally report that they engage in these behaviors more often when they take steroids than when they are drug free.