Tag Archives: performance enhancing drugs

Are Athletes Using Painkillers As Performance Enhancing Drugs

This week I have come across two articles that have cast a spot light on the use and abuse of pain medication in world of sports. The stories left me convinced painkillers in pro sports is a form of legal doping.

The first story is the tragic story of NHL player Derek Boogaard. The following intro from New York Times article is enough to shock you……

In his final three seasons playing in the National Hockey League, before dying last year at 28 of an accidental overdose of narcotic painkillers and alcohol, Derek Boogaard received more than 100 prescriptions for thousands of pills from more than a dozen team doctors Read the Rest of the story at NYT Times.

The story details how Derek sustained his short Career by relying on powerful painkillers and anti anxiety medications such as hydrocodone, oxycodone, xanax, Ambien and tramadol. The medications were prescribed to treat multiple injuries.

The next story was from BBC sports. FIFA is alarmed by rampant abuse of painkillers in soccer/football. Fifa’s chief medical officer has said the “abuse” of pain killers is putting the careers and long-term health of international footballers in jeopardy. The major factor in the growing use of painkillers in football is the pressure on team doctors to get injured players back on the pitch quickly.

Soccer players take pain killers as a preventive. They take them to prevent a pain which may occur, to be totally insensitive. The story also noted that n the United States, 12 former NFL players are now suing the league over the use of the powerful anti-inflammatory drug Toradol. They argue that the medication masked the pain of head injuries and led them to play on and suffer concussions as result.

As these stories show, the primary reason is to continue performing beyond your natural level. The smoking gun evidence that painkillers can be used to enhance performance was piece from BBC follow up article,

“It’s well known that Andreas Erm who won a bronze medal in the 50km walk in the 2003 world athletic championship in Paris received pain killers several times during the walk – can you tell me this is not performance enhancing?

“His body was not able to walk 50km on this day in such a speed but he won the bronze medal because he was treated with pain killing medications!” Read the rest of the story at BBC Science.

The Most Popular Performance Enhancing Drug In Sports

The most popular performance enhancing drug in sports is Caffeine. Caffeine has been proven to increase the number of fatty acids circulating in the bloodstream, which enables people to run or pedal longer.

As a result, caffeine, which is legal under International Olympic Committee rules, is the most popular drug in sports. More than two-thirds of about 20,680 Olympic athletes studied for a recent report had caffeine in their urine, with use highest among triathletes, cyclists and rowers.

Caffeine Increases Endurance In Running & Cycling

Scientists and many athletes have known for years, of course, that a cup of coffee before a workout jolts athletic performance, especially in endurance sports like distance running and cycling.

Caffeine Benefits in Weight Training & Muscle Building

Caffeine reduces adenosine levels, “which then enables more forceful muscular contractions and delays fatigue.

Caffeine Benefits in Soccer & Football

In a study published in The British Journal of Sports Medicine, soccer players dribbled, headed and kicked the ball more accurately if they’d had caffeine than if they hadn’t.

For More details check out the source: New York Times Health Reports

How Performance Enhancing Drugs Work to Boost Athlete Performance

“Winning is not everything it is the only thing”

That famous quote by American football coach Vincent Limbardi explains why athlete use performance enhancing drugs.

Athletes may have two reasons for using performance-enhancing drugs. An athlete may want to:

  • Build mass and strength of muscles and/or bones
  • Increase delivery of oxygen to exercising tissues

Build Mass and Strength of muscles and/or bones

The drug that is commonly used to build muscle mass and strength is Anabolic Steroid. This is the drug that Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was caught using.

Athletes use anabolic steroids because they increase muscle strength by encouraging new muscle growth. They allow the athlete to train harder and longer at any given period.

Increase delivery of Oxygen to exercising tissue

EPO (Erythropoietin) is the drug choice here. Erythropoietin is a naturally occurring protein hormone that is secreted by the kidneys during low-oxygen conditions. When EPO is injected in the body it stimulates the bone marrow stem cells to make red blood cells, which increase the delivery of oxygen around the body. It is the drug of choice in endurace athletes in Marathons and cycling.