Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

Gazette Premium Content Moving the future: Use example of A-Rod to warn children about dangers of PEDs

By Milo F. Bryant Special to The Gazette - Published: January 14, 2014

This column is brought to you courtesy of the foolishness, idiocy and selfishness of Alex Rodriguez.

Last weekend, Rodriguez, a Major League Baseball player, was suspended for the entire 2014 season. That's 162 games and the playoffs, if the New York Yankees make the postseason. It was an important day in the sports world.

This is also a time that we as coaches and parents can have - and should have - poignant and understanding discourse with our young athletes about performance-enhancing drugs.

A whole host of MLB players were suspended for at least 50 games in August because of their involvement in taking performance-enhancing drugs. Cyclists, track and field athletes, football players and more have been reprimanded for PED use.

Our young athletes and children often work out as diligently as the tainted sports stars. Undoubtedly, the young folks are going to ask us about PEDs. What do they do? Do they actually work? Why did the athletes take them if they were illegal? What happens if I take them?

Coaches, more so than parents, will get asked those questions and many more. We need to be prepared with a response for each of them.

- Performance-enhancing drugs often do exactly that - enhance a performance.

- Yes, they work.

- Athletes take them because victories bring more money and more fame.

- We're only partially knowledgeable about that, and the unknown could lead to potentially frightening results.

There haven't been any long-term studies on children, primarily because we don't stay children long enough. But the biological sciences have found that PEDs can affect boys and girls in huge ways even in short time periods.

In boys:

- Stunted growth

- Abnormal cardiac muscle growth

- Premature hair loss

- Increased acne

- Vast hormonal fluctuations

- Impotency

- Testicular atrophy

In girls:

- Deepening of the voice

- Increased facial hair

- Increased acne

- Vast hormonal fluctuations

- Abnormal cardiac muscle growth

In both boys and girls, there is also an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Using steroids can lead to atherosclerosis, which causes fat deposits in the arteries. Those deposits help to block blood flow, which can lead to heart attacks. Blood flow to the brain gets blocked and a stroke can be the result.

Our children are going to work out. We should be thankful for that. We simply can't be na?e about the process. In the absence of guidance, they're going to watch the corrupted professionals and believe that's what needs to be done to reach that level or get that kind of body.

Let's show them the right way to train.

Check out these websites for more information about steroids and children: atlasathena.org; kidshealth.org/parent/emotions/behavior/steroids.html# and bodybuilding.com/fun/drsquat5.htm.

-

Bryant is an author and lecturer who holds several national training certifications. His columns appear biweekly in Health and Wellness. Email him at moving thefuture@gmail.com.

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