Steroids and NFL Athletes: It's a Bad Mix

Glenn CardSenior Analyst IFebruary 20, 2009

Ignoring the implications of steroid use and how it skews athletics records and statistics, is it wiser to appeal to the athletes themselves and put further emphasis on the health risks that can result from steroid use?

Steroid education should begin at the high school level and continue through college. Mandatory seminars should be required for all student athletes; it is well known that this is not strictly a football problem.


Statistically, the professional NFL athlete has an expected career of about four to five years. These athletes already put their bodies on the line and risk life-long injuries.


A new survey conducted by the University of North Carolina's Center for the Study of Retired Athletes that polled 2,552 former NFL players has been published in the March issue of the “American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation.” This survey shows players that used steroids have greater incidences of joint and ligament damage. It also shows that their mental health may have been affected as well.


There was a significantly higher indication of common physical ailments for the athletes that responded they had used steroids during their NFL careers versus athletes that played drug-free. Those injuries include herniated disks and knee ligament and meniscus injuries among others.


This survey also found a link between mental illnesses, attention deficit disorder, depression, and higher alcohol consumption with steroid use.


Although steroid use can not be said to be a direct cause to these injuries, the survey does suggest they are more persistent and severe with past use.


Football is a physical game that wears on the body. It’s a game of continual jarring impacts to the athletes.


Considering the physical risks that are already present simply by playing the sport of football, it begs the following question: Is your life after retiring worth so little that you will gamble it away for the instant gain of steroid use, when years later that use could be physically debilitating to you?


Long arguments have been made as to how steroids spoil our sports, but the perversions that they cause the body are far worse.