Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why It Matters?

Many people feel that steroid use among ball players is a non story but it matters and I'll tell you why I think so. During the Mark McGuire era when he was breaking Hank Aaron's homerun record, I was working in a local pharmacy/herb store. Mark McGuire was taking a product called Androstendione.

Androstendione is legal to take. What it does is provide the body with the precursors to testosterone which enable the body to manufacture even more testosterone on it's own.

At the height of it's popularity (when he was in the process of breaking the record), we had men coming in the store in droves to buy Androstendione. We couldn't keep it on the shelf even though it was around $50 a bottle and this was over 10 years ago. I didn't have a problem with all these men buying the stuff but what there was a problem with was the teenage boys who were coming in to buy the stuff.

Thankfully I worked with a pharmacist with a conscience and he refused to sell it to anyone under the age of 18. Here is why. Teenage boys already have an overabundance of testosterone in their bodies. When they take the Androstendione, then their bodies produce even more testosterone. When there is too much testosterone then the body starts to produce more estrogen to counteract it. This can cause developmental problems in growing boys. (I got my information from the pharmacist and from my own personal research.)

High school coaches and parents whose only thought is the next high school game were actually sending their players into the store to buy the stuff. My boss made me card them to see if they were in fact of legal age to buy the stuff even though there was no law against it. It said it was "a matter of ethics." Many time parents would come in and complain when we refused to sell it to their budding athletes. Once they would speak to the pharmacist (and he was happy to counsel anyone who asked) I only saw one parent go ahead and buy it for their child.

A high school ballgame is not something to risk a teenage boy's development over. I have seen it many times not only in relation to Androstendione but having players play with an injury. Sure they may have to sit out a game or two or even a season but they will be better off in the long run for it.

I have watched players play on injuries that if I would have raced a greyhound that way I would have lost my license. Not to mention that it generally shortens a career to do anything with an injury instead of letting it heal.

Maybe we should give our kids the same consideration that we give our dogs.

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