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Doctor Reiterates Danger of Steroids to Teens

Friday, December 14, 2007

With the release of Major League Baseball’s Mitchell Report painting a picture of widespread use of steroids and other performance enhancing drugs among baseball players, University Sports Medicine is reminding the community about the dangers of steroid use among young athletes.

“There’s no question that today’s young athletes feel enormous pressure to be faster, stronger, better – all the time. And it’s part of the reason why young teens are turning to steroids,” Michael Maloney, M.D., director of University Sports Medicine, said. “We need to be vigilant in warning young athletes about the very real dangers of steroids, and provide them with the knowledge on how to safely boost their performance.”

According to Maloney, misuse and abuse of anabolic steroids can lead to serious health problems, some irreversible, including cancer, fluid retention, high blood pressure, severe acne, and even have been linked to violent, aggressive behavior.

Recent National Institute of Drug Abuse research shows that both boys and girls are taking performance-enhancing substances as benign as protein shakes to as troublesome as anabolic steroids. Rates of usage, including steroids, range from 1.6 percent of girls to 4.7 percent of boys.

Maloney said parents and coaches need to keep an eye out for sudden changes in an athlete’s appearances and performances.

“If a teen is suddenly gaining muscle bulk quickly, I’d say it is time for a talk with him or her,” Maloney said. “These athletes have such a bright future, and it’s a shame that they feel they need to turn to drugs to be competitive.”

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