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The Consequences of Doping in Sports


The utilization of substance that enhances performance in the field of sports has a long history, preceding the earliest Greek Olympiads. It is important to discuss doping in sports since in the 20th century; issues concerned with this practice were reported. In addition, the use of steroids have several health effects in an individual, hence, steroids should not be allowed to be used in sports. Recently, sports athletes undergo quality and huge training in order to be well prepared appropriately to deal with the skyrocketing competitive pressure. Most of the participants in the many sports have identified their physical limitation (Stevens & Lowe 175). In addition, there are other factors that need the utilization of pharmacological substances or secure doping to make sure that the athletes are more productive. For example absence of vitamins in the athletes’ meals, requirement in having prophylactic and rehabilitation times, adaptation or adjustment of a creature to psycho-emotional stress and physical actions that is harsh and regular alterations of climatic conditions and period/time zones among others (Burns 6). In this response, this paper will address the issues of doping in sports and discuss why steroids should not be allowed in sports.

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One of the cases that have been reported is as follows; during a semi-final match of the Regional Youth Championship everyone was encouraging their runners by cheering as the competitors were warming up. One of the competitors called Alex was totally concentrating on his race since through his eyes one could see that he was determined to perform and become the best in the 800m race. In this case all the competitors were ready to begin, and immediately after the sound of the gun, the young man Alex dashed and appeared among the group that was leading. His relaxing manner of competing or running perplexed most of the people. When the leading group reached 500m, Alex could not be seen anywhere among the runners until the group or runners passed the 500m that when Alex was seen lying on the ground. Looking at him there was a dreadful expression on his face, struggling from pain due to stomach ache. Therefore, health care providers hurried to him and took him to the hospital. After Alex was diagnosed he was found to be suffering from liver mal-functioning.

What had contributed to the Alex’s liver malfunctioning was due to the doping he had been using daily as he had been advised by his instructor. According to his instructor, the doping was indented to improve the performance of Alex and advance his energy or stamina. Therefore, looking at the Alex’s case, it is clear that the use of doping has adverse effects to the health of an individual. The initial reason why the Alex’s instructor had advised him to take doping (steroids) was to enhance his performance and so that he could emerge as the best competitor. In addition, when a student becomes a winner in a race, the coach is also acknowledged or offered some credit. Hence, personal benefits like self-satisfaction, fame, recognition and financial gain of main sports athletes is as a result of ingesting steroids that are offered to the sport athletes. Thus, doping issue is turning to be the most common problem in the field of sports and hence, it requires a close attention and immediate remedies should be implemented.


This paper will address issues regarding doping in sports and later focus on the use of steroids. Firstly, in sports where the size and features of the body are significant like the body shape and building of the body can be manipulated or modified by using hormonal manipulations. Several drugs are utilized to overcome stress, enhance sleep, and maintain good body shape. Such drugs include cannabinoids, beta-blockers derivatives of amphetamines and benzodiazepine and alcohol (Department of life sciences par.2).

As a result of the increasing financial skates and the pressure imposed by the competition for identification and reputation, sports athletes and their couches or associates attempt to look for convectional methods on how they can enhance their performance including ways or techniques that do not obey the sporting rules and regulations. Recently, technology has established very efficient drugs in order to improve athletes’ performance and speed up the recovery process of athletes experiencing rising constraints. Most of the richer or wealthier sports athletes utilize the drugs under proper supervision of skilled expertise or professionals. On the other hand, others who are not able to hire a skilled supervisor practice self-medication depending on the information received from their advisers or information gathered in stadiums without knowing the consequences associated with the practice (Synthetic report par.9).

There are several suggestions regarding the establishment of the term doping. For example, it is said to have originated from dop which was an alcoholic beverage utilized in ceremonial dances as a stimulus in Southern Africa in the 18th century. Secondly, it is thought to have originated from the word doop, a term from Dutch where it was introduced into American jargon to explain how thieves or robbers bewildered sufferers by combining tobacco with datura stramonium seeds referred to as jimsonweed (Clarke 6). This combination contained several tropane alkaloids that resulted to hallucinations, perplexity and sedation. By the year 1889, dope was utilized together with the formulation of a thick viscous substance of smoking opium. By the year 1900, dope was prepared and used as a drug that could enhance the performance of the racehorse (Barnhart 8).

Information dating back to ancient times proposes that most of men always search for a method to perform better and harder. When the fittest and energetic men of a country were chosen as combatants or athletes, all of them were fed with meals or food and offered medications that were termed to be of benefit to them. For instance some participants after eating some roots or leaves before engaging into competitions labored vigorously through out the day without experiencing thirst, hunger or feeling tired and at the end of the day they were cheerful and happy. One the athletes participating in a race in the Britain in the year 1807 stated that he had previous utilized opium or laudanum in order that he could be awake for 24 hours when competing with his colleagues (Shermer par.3).

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The utilization of drugs like steroids to enhance performance in the sports athletes is referred to as doping and it is not permitted by anti-doping norms or sporting rules because it might pose a great health risk to the life of some individuals. Some of the illegal drugs that have been banned or prohibited by the organization known as World Anti-doping Agency consist of the following groups; narcotics, mimetics, analogs, diuretics, stimulants, anti-estrogenic agents and anabolic agents. Exercise is the most effective hypertrophic stimulus for cardiac. Meanwhile, sports athletes predispose themselves to supra-physiological drugs of steroids like anabolic androgenic steroids (AAS) in order to enhance strength impacts or effects and skeletal muscle weight. These steroids assist them to create the foundation for their management to improve the sports athletes’ performance (Hassan, Salem & Sayed 174).

Lately, among the frequent documented or recognized hormonal or toxic impacts of AAS, interest has been emphasized strongly on the cardiovascular side effects of the drugs or doses. This is because they are related to detrimental or unfavorable cardiovascular impacts like increase on blood pressure, sudden cardiac death and high density lipoprotein depression (HDL). In addition, sometimes infarction has happened with no evident atherosclerosis or coronary thrombosis, resulting to the speculation that the drugs (like AAS) might provoke cardiac arrhythmias and coronary vasospasm in vulnerable people. Moreover, there are various cases that have been reported of increased risk of thrombo-embolic (Rubin 286).

The technology of doping tests as one of the enforcement techniques has naturally pulled behind the capability of the sport athletes to use substance that enhance performance with injustice. The International Olympic Committee

(IOC) forbade the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the year 1928. During this period there were no effective tests to confirm that the competitors were using illegal substances. In the year 1988, international humiliations like the positive test of steroid of 100-m sprint winner at the Seoul Olympics indicated clearly that doping mainly involved the utilization of steroids (Rubin 287).


There are different forms of drugs that are utilized by the sports athletes in order to enhance their performance but they are classified into two types; body modifications and blood doping. Some of these drugs are legally accepted while others are forbidden on prescription, though they are all banned by the rules and regulations of the sporting. Body modification drugs include stimulants like adrafinil and cocaine which are used since they boost the functions of the body like the activity of the brain and heart rate. In addition, there are anabolic steroids like tetrahydrogestinone and drostanolone which stimulate the growth and development of the muscles, thereby permitting the athlete to practice harder and recuperate faster. Body modification drugs also include narcotics like heroin and morphine, which are referred to as painkillers and are utilized in order to control pain that result from injuries and they also permit the athletes to practice better and for a longer time. In this class there are peptide hormones such as human growth hormones and insulin. These are substances that occur naturally and they flow in the blood, enhance the growth of muscles, raise the rate of red blood cells production that leads to increases in oxygen transportation and the alter the equilibrium of other hormones. Others include diuretics which are used to eliminate traces or shades of other drugs, increase urine production and contribute to water loss hence loss of body weight (BBC par.3-5).

Secondly, the other type of doping includes blood doping. This is the procedure of raising the level of blood cells concentration artificially in the blood. As a result there is increased oxygenated blood delivered into the muscles. There are two major ways of blood doping. These include injection of more red blood cells into the body harvested previously from oneself blood or from someone else blood. The second method include blood transfusion though this method is risky to use especially during competition since one encounters difficulties of smuggling particularly in medical materials and frozen blood when using then unsupervised (Krieg, Scharhag, Kindermann &Urhausen 18-22).

There are several consequences associated with doping. It does cause irreparable or irretrievable damage to all the sports athletes who use it as a means of performance-enhancer. The utilization of drugs which enhance performance diminishes behavior and ethical elements, which weaken sports. Doping damages good play and reasonable competition, damages athletes and harms the integrity of sports (Hartgens& Kuipers 522-527). Recently, doping has become dangerous and invasive. Athletes and their supporters have become progressively more complicated in their efforts to achieve all the benefits including the slightest advantages, frequently with dangerous negative health impacts. Misuse of methods or even substances has resulted to cardiovascular diseases, kidney and liver mal-functioning, physical or psychological reliance and the worst of it all death (Urhausen, Albers & Kindermann 498-499).

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Doping consequences goes beyond the understanding and concern of the athletes or the sports itself. This is because the predicaments affect even the society at large since the benefits or achievements of the sports are not only limited to the playing fields. Sports are influential tools or vehicles that bring peace which form closer relationship, common esteem and comprehending between individuals. In addition, sports lead to growth and development that bring people together, offering resources and facilities, and access to the services within the community. Moreover, they promote togetherness and assist in strengthening social networks and relationships. Most likely, many young individuals learn and understand clearly the essential models and values of good character or conduct that are long lasting. Doping has the possibility of putting to an end all the above-mentioned benefits of sports. This is a great signal where everyone including the sports organizations, individuals, and communities should implement activities that will eliminate doping (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization 1).

For instance, a black (African-American) man aged 37 years who had no medical or health history had been admitted in a health care system in the year 2003. After physical examination, the man presented with continues headache that had lasted for one day and distorted visualization in his left visual region. He said that he had experienced reduced practice permissiveness or tolerance and tremors over the last two weeks. Though he was energetic and fit, he denied or rejected the utilization of recommended treatments, illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Moreover, the man had a past history of diseases like stroke and myocardial infarction though no dilated or enlarged cardiomyopathy. In addition, he presented with an increased heart beat of 76 beats per minutes. More examinations were conducted and infarction of the left pariental was recognized indicating source of embolic. In addition, there was reduced flow in the distal part of the brain (the middle cerebral artery) among others. This patient was treated as a non-cardioversion patient but few days later, he was re-admitted. During this time, he exposed that had been taking nutritional supplement called ephedra for over three years. Later he revealed that he had utilized nandrolone one year prior to the start of the symptoms. His recovery became complicated by the occurrence of more infarcts of the left cerebellar and after ten days he was discharged though he was not well. All these medical problems were as a result or consequences of the drugs he had been using and had denied to have been using them (Libman, Menna & Gulati 522-3).


According to the sports athletes instructors, doping in sports, personal benefits like self-satisfaction, fame, recognition and financial gain of main sports athletes is as a result of ingesting steroids that are offered to the sport athletes. For instance, the initial reason why the Alex’s instructor had advised him to take doping (steroids) was to enhance his performance and so that he could emerge as the best competitor. In addition, when a student becomes a winner in a race, the coach is also acknowledged or offered some credit.

However, health consequences as a result of using doping in sports like steroids are more than the benefits. Studies carried out to investigate the health consequences related with the use of steroids indicated the following health risks testicular atrophy, psychological interruption, increased mortality rate, hepatic cellular destruction, musculo-skeletal effects and cardiovascular illness. Cardiovascular impacts involve increased blood pressure, reduced erythrocytosis, arrhythmia, myocardial hypertrophy, thrombosis and high-density lipoprotein (Furlanello, Bentivegna, Cappato & Ambroggi 832). In addition, reproductive-endocrine impacts includes reduced luteinizing hormone, changes in libido, reduced follicle stimulating hormone, increased sexual desires and aggressiveness, sometimes resulting in abnormal sexual and illegal character. Some effects in men include enlargement of breast, premature baldness, testicular atrophy, enlargement of prostatic and decline in sperm generation. On the other hand, some effects in women include clitoris enlargement, menstrual cycles that are unusual, breast size reduce, too much hair grow on the body and face and their voices deepen. Behavioral or psychological effects include disorders like mania, withdrawal, mood swings, aggression, dependence and depression (Yuol 2-9).


Therefore, identifying the importance of the drugs in the field of sport, as well as recognizing the adverse consequences associated with unqualified, illegal and unregulated utilization, it is clear that steroids should not be allowed in the field of sports. This is because the negative consequences that result from doping are very detrimental to the health of the athletes. Therefore, there ought not to be any sporting rule that support or permit doping. This will lead to athletes being considered as role models to the young people who have dreams or vision of becoming champions in the field of sports.

Works cited

Barnhart. In Chambers Dictionary of Etymology. 3000 years of doping in competition horses. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 29:4-8. 2003.

BBC. Types of drugs. n.d. Web.

Burns, N. The Olympics and selected professional sports. Doping in sports. 2006. Web.

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Clarke, J.From ancient Greece to modern Athens: 3000 years of doping in competition horses. Journal of Veterinary Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 29:4-8. 2006.

Department of life sciences. Doping and sports Collective expert assessment. 1998. Web.

Furlanello, F., Bentivegna, S., Cappato, R., & De Ambroggi, L. Arrhythmogenic effects of illicit drugs in athletes. Ital Heart J, 4: 829–837. 2007.

Hartgens, F, Kuipers, H. Effects of androgenic-anabolic steroids in athletes. Sports Med, 34: 513–554. 2004.

Hassan, NA., Salem, MF., & Sayed, MAEL. Doping and effects of anabolic androgenic steroids on the heart: histological, ultrastructural, and echocardiographic assessment in strength athletes. Human and Experimental Toxicology, 28:173-283.2009.

Krieg, A., Scharhag, J., Kindermann, W., &Urhausen, A. Cardiac tissue Doppler imaging in sports medicine. Sports Med, 37: 15–30. 2007.

Libman, B., Menna, L., & Gulati, S. Case Report Consequences of ephedra use in an athlete. Department of Neurology Lancet.2005.

Rubin, E. Pathology of the myocardial infarction in essential pathology. 3rd ed. Lippincott Wiliams & Wilkins. 2001.

Shermer, M. The Doping Dilemma. Scientific American. 2009. Web.

Stevens, A, Lowe, J. Text book of pathology. 2nd ed. Mosby; 2000.

Urhausen, A, Albers, T, Kindermann, W. Are the cardiac effects of anabolic steroid abuse in strength athletes reversible. Heart, 90: 496–501. 2004.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. Combating doping in sport. The use of performance-enhancing drugs is one of the biggest threats to sports today.  2009. Web.

Youl, Keun. Side Effects of doping drugs. Handout for Education Symposium – Macau. 2005. Web.

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