Methods used to research long-term effects of drug use in sport

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Discovering Society – Formative assignment

Anonymous Code: Z0504002

Describe and evaluate the methods that have been used to research the long-term effects of performance enhancing drugs in sport

In this essay I will look not only at the methods that have been used to research performance enhancing drugs, but firstly at the main reason for athletes feeling the ‘need’ to take these drugs.  Secondly, I would like to give a brief overview of the drugs that have been banned by the world anti doping agency.

In my opinion the main reason for athletes taking such measures is all to do with the commercialisation of sport, and the extreme pressures put on athletes to perform and win; hence the term ‘win at all costs’ Vince Lombardi famously quotes ‘Winning is not a sometime thing; it's an all the time thing. You don't win once in a while; you don't do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit.  Unfortunately, so is losing’.  It is this ethic combined with commercialisation that makes the pressure so great, and therefore performers use drugs.  Coakley (1994) refers to commercialization in sport as ‘a social process in the course of which a field of activity, for example, sport, becomes monetarised and dominated more and more by the search for profit.

The world anti-doping agency (2004) compiled a list of banned substances, which they divided into categories.  For my essay I am going to look specifically at only a few of these categories.

 Anabolic agents: Anabolic Androgenic Steroids (AAS) are synthetic versions of the hormone testosterone. Testosterone is a male sex hormone found in large quantities in most males and in some females. Anabolic Androgenic Steroids fall into one of two categories: 1) exogenous steroids are those substances that are not capable of being produced by the body naturally, and 2) endogenous steroids are those substances that are capable of being produced by the body naturally).  Athletes use them to increase muscle size and strength, reduce the amount of time required to recover after exercise, and to train harder and for a longer period of time.

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Now I will describe and evaluate some of the methods used in researching drug use.

There have been various studies concerned with the use of anabolic steroids particularly with Russian and American athletes.  Dr. John Ziegler an American physician was a medical officer at the 1956 Moscow world games and first witnessed the first clues that soviet athletes were using testosterone.  He then returned to America and informed various sports and medical organisations about the soviets use of steroids, and believed them to be gaining an unfair advantage.  To understand some of the benefits Dr. Ziegler obtained some ...

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