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  • Am. Col. of Sports Med. re: steroids

    >From ACSM:

    October 23, 2003

    For immediate release


    STEROIDS THREATEN HEALTH OF ATHLETES AND INTEGRITY OF SPORTS PERFORMANCE



    American College of Sports Medicine Calls for Increased Vigilance in
    Identifying and Eradicating Steroid Use



    INDIANAPOLIS ? The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) today
    condemned the development and use of new “designer” steroids. ACSM
    considers chemicals, such as the recently identified
    Tetrahydrogestrinone, or THG, developed and
    cloaked to avoid detection by doping tests, as serious threats to the
    health and safety of athletes,
    as well as detriments to the principle of fair play in sports. Any
    effort to veil or disguise
    steroid use in sports through stealth, designer, or precursor means,
    puts elite, amateur and even
    recreational athletes at risk.


    The health risks associated with steroid use are severe. Anabolic
    steroid use has been implicated
    in early heart disease, including sudden death, the increase of bad
    cholesterol profiles (increased
    LDL, lower HDL), an increase in tendon injuries, liver tumors,
    testicular atrophy, gynecomastia
    (abnormal enlargement of breasts in males), male
    pattern baldness, severe acne, premature closure of growth plates in
    adolescents, emotional
    disturbances and other significant health risks. The health risks of
    designer steroids compared to
    or beyond symptoms of anabolic steroid use are currently unknown.


    “No one knows the extent of this yet,” said Gary I. Wadler, M.D., FACSM.
    “If there is one great
    concern that THG has exposed, it’s the potential that other
    non-detectable anabolic steroids may be
    in the pipeline. The scientific and public health implications of this
    issue
    are quite disconcerting.” Wadler, an ACSM sports medicine physician who
    serves on the Health,
    Medical and Research Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)
    and is a leading international
    authority on doping in sports, says the appearance of these new drugs
    and their use models dangerous
    behavior, potentially causing physical and psychological damage to young
    athletes.


    ACSM calls for national compliance with the United States Anti-Doping
    Agency (USADA) regulations and
    to the World Anti-doping Code. Further, the College stresses the need
    for “clean” athletes, those
    not taking performance-enhancing drugs or supplements, to publicly
    deplore the use of steroids among
    their teammates and peers. ACSM underscores the critical leadership
    role clean athletes can take in
    disavowing performance-enhancing drug use and advocating fair play to
    protect the integrity of
    sports competition. Other individuals who influence young athletes,
    such as parents and coaches,
    should establish a no-tolerance policy for performance-enhancing
    substances, and intervene whenever
    necessary.


    In the past 20 years, sports governing bodies have made substantial
    efforts to eradicate steroid
    use. Drug testing implemented by the National Collegiate Athletic
    Association, for example, has
    been instrumental in decreasing the use of steroids among college
    athletes. Last year, ACSM called
    for mandatory testing for steroid use in Major League Baseball. (ACSM’s
    Position Stand, “The Use of
    Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids in Sports,” ACSM condemns the use of these
    drugs among athletes. To
    read a copy of this Position Stand, please visit
    http://www.acsm-msse.org). Yet, information
    gathered very recently, over just the past few years, indicates an
    upward trend in steroid use among
    amateur athletes at the college and even high school levels.


    ACSM will conduct a national news teleconference, Friday, October 24,
    2003 at 1:00 p.m. EDT to
    address the issues of athlete health, the importance of fair play, and
    the call for increased
    vigilance on the part of athletes, coaches, parents, and others.
    Participants will include Wadler,
    ACSM President-elect William O. Roberts, M.D., FACSM,
    and Andrew Pipe, M.D., FACSM, Chairman of the Canadian Center for Ethics
    in Sport.



    The American College of Sports Medicine is the largest sports medicine
    and exercise science
    organization in the world. More than 20,000 International, National,
    and Regional members are
    dedicated to advancing and integrating scientific research to provide
    educational and practical
    applications of exercise science and sports medicine.


    -30-
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