TIME OUT: Drugs: Not good for sports or otherwise

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Drugs or the use of drugs continues to be in the forefront of our communities. I believe this issue should get addressed continuously.

Drug use among our athletes has constantly been thrown at us through television, radio, and written media. Most of what’s been broadcasted is the use of drugs by professional athletes.

My concern is with the amateur athlete, which includes college, high school and middle school athletes.

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In the college ranks, only the NCAA D-I schools get the attention. You can rest assured that the smaller colleges have to address this issue as well.

High schools are not excluded from this national disease of drug infestation either. If there are drugs in the community, there is a good chance that there are drugs in the schools.

As parents, school administrators and concerned citizens, we must be aware of the messages of tolerance that are being sent by the sports arena. Looking the other way is not a good example for our young student-athletes. It is not OK to use drugs and that’s the bottom line.

The question often asked, is why would an athlete use drugs or alcohol? Some say to relieve stress or to make them feel good. Is that justifiable? Not in my mind. It’s just an excuse to use a drug or alcohol. Some have said drug use may come from the pressure to win or perform well.

Sure those pressures exist, but amateur or school sports are supposed to help prepare a student-athlete for the pressures of life.

Drugs do not solve problems as some may think; they create problems. Drugs don’t make stress go away; they create stress.

Some may think drugs will enhance a player’s performance on the playing field. It won’t. It’s simply not true, though a possible exception may be anabolic steroids.

Drugs actually interfere with an athlete’s physical and mental ability.

And, even though steroids may improve their short-term performance, the physical side effects and emotional damage they cause far outweigh any benefits.

The most widely publicized drug has been anabolic steroids. The Cheating Culture says anabolic steroids are man-made substances that mimics the effects of testosterone and help athletes build or maintain muscle mass. These drugs can provide an advantage in sports, such as football, baseball, swimming, weight lifting and track and field.

Other drugs that are known to be used by athletes are: marijuana, cocaine barbiturates, amphetamines, alcohol, and inhalants.

It is my belief that college and high school coaches must take an active role in their player’s lives on and off the field. We are in constant need of role models in our athletes, students, and children’s lives. Coaches are in that unique position where they have the opportunity to affect the lives of their players and must constantly instill the dangers of drugs.

See you on the hardwood.

James Gilmore is the sports editor of The Demopolis Times. He can be reached by e-mail to james.gilmore@demopolistimes.com.