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Drugs Usage in Sports Essay

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Updated: Mar 22nd, 2019


During a 30- minute interview, I sat down with a former coach of mine and discussed drug usage among high school athletes. The coach touched upon a few issues concerning drug testing policies, drug education and awareness programs for coaches and athletes used at high schools in Mississippi.

INTERVIEWER: Are the incidents of drug abuse frequent among athletes and what measures are taken for improving the existing situation?

COACH: The problems of drug use are a common scenario among young athletes that does not receive the proper attention. The main causes making athletes to look for performance-enhancing substances include their low self-esteem and willingness to enhance their chances for making outstanding achievements (Coakley, 2008). International Olympic Committee (IOC), National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), and Professional Sports League united their efforts for developing drug testing policies as well as education and awareness programs for the purpose of ensuring drug-free environment for athletes and strengthening sport ethics.

INTERVIEWER: Why do you think these measures can be ineffective?

COACH: The main difficulties in implementing the drug testing and controlling policies are preconditioned with the main controversies of applying them in practice. On the one hand, drug-free environment is important for the health of athletes and integrity of sports. On the other hand, drug testing procedures frequently turn out to be ineffective. Partially violating the rights of athletes for privacy, these policies can result in the protests of athletes (Coakley, 2008). Additionally, athletes can use legal substances (aspirin) which can still be regarded as performance-enhancing, complicating the task of coaches suspecting them of drug use.

INTERVIWER: As a high school coach, have you ever faced the problem of drug use in your professional practice?

COACH: Yes, I have faced this issue in my practice. Some athletes were certain that by using performance-enhancing drugs, they could improve their achievements.

INTERVIEWER: What can make you suspect an athlete of drug abuse?

COACH: It can be seen from sportsmen’s behaviour and their performance. For instance, a player may start to lose concentration, not attend sessions or unexpectedly improve performance. For this reason, a coach has to take into account the previous observations of athletes’ performance and behavioural characteristics.

INTERVIEWER: Can certain tests be used for defining the instances of drug abuse and in which cases these tests can be taken?

COACH: Yes, drug screening tests can be used in case of reasonable doubt of a coach, tutor or parent. Reasonable suspicion can be defined as the quantity of proof which is beyond mere intuition, but still lacks argumentation. As to an incident, it can be defined as a positive screening test or a situation in which an athlete was found in using or possessing certain banned substances.

INTERVIEWER: Is there any possibility of getting false results of a drug screening test?

COACH: If the first drug screening test is positive, athletes have to take a second one. Additionally, according to the drug testing policies of the state of Mississippi, if certain outside substances are found in the athlete’s urine, it is regarded as an attempt to disguise the results, and the test is automatically regarded as positive (Coakley, 2008).

INTREVIEWER: Can you give examples of the most famous cases of drug abuse which can be used in education program for athletes for enhancing their awareness of possible physiological and psychological changes which can be caused by drug use?

COACH: Snoop Dogg is a rapper who was arrested because of an incident of drug possession. Alanis Morissette is a singer who had undergone bulimia and anorexia drug addictions before she attained 18years. Cathy Rigby is a gymnast who suffered from an eating disorder. Christy Henrich is a gymnast who died because of anorexia complications. These famous people suffered or died because of drug abuse.

INTERVIEWER: What awareness programs have been implemented for ensuring drug-free environment for students?

COACH: Awareness programs for coaches and athletes have been established to educate and counsel young people on the effects of drugs. Additionally, participating in these programs, coaches can receive valuable information concerning the drug controlling and testing policies and act in accordance with the legislation norms of the state of Mississippi. Most high schools and youth leagues participate in these programs. Complying with NCAA regulations, Mississippi high schools pay attention to the three main elements of drug-related programs, including those of education, prevention and rehabilitation (University Microfilms International, 2005)

INTERVIEWER: Are there campaign awareness programs for players only?

COACH: Yes, they exist. These awareness programs are meant to create awareness about the effects of drugs on their health. The players are also encouraged to pass on the message to other upcoming players (University Microfilms International, 2005).

INTERVIEWER: What measures need to be taken for enhancing the effectiveness of the existing programs and improving the results?

COACH: I would recommend devoting more time to educational programs and enacting a procedure of random testing for all athletes which is currently prohibited by NCAA, but is still used in other states. Taking into account the incidence of drug abuse and possible consequences for the athletes’ health and sport ethics, I insist on taking critical measures.

Reference List

Coakley, J. (2008). Sports in society: Issues and controversies. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

University Microfilms International (2005). Dissertation abstracts international. Berkeley, CA: University Microfilms

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