01-27-2004, 09:38 AM #1Member
- Join Date
- Mar 2003
- new york
interesting read from musclemayhem.com
found this thread on musclemyhem.com thought it made some good points!
Posted on Sat, Jan. 24, 2004
Wisconsin pediatrician-ethicist says don't ban steroids
BY DON WALKER
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
MILWAUKEE - (KRT) - Norman Fost, a Madison, Wis., pediatrician and a medical ethicist, has a problem with performance-enhancing drugs and sports.
Specifically, he doesn't understand why the sports world has a problem with athletes who use drugs and why regulatory bodies go to such great lengths to ban performance-enhancing drugs in competition.
"Every athlete uses unnatural enhancements," explains Fost, a University of Wisconsin professor of pediatrics and director of the program in medical ethics.
In Fost's view, athletes exist to seek a better advantage. Runners are always looking for better shoes, pole vaulters wouldn't hesitate to use a pole that will give them better lift, and many world-class athletes would gladly submit to a battery of scientific tests designed to determine the most efficient way to run, jump or throw better than the next athlete.
To Fost, banning the drugs doesn't make sense.
"My major point is that the multiple claims that these drugs are immoral are incoherent, disingenuous, hypocritical or based on unsubstantiated, false or exaggerated empiric claims," Fost wrote in an e-mail follow-up to an interview.
As a pediatrician, Fost draws the line with young people. He doesn't think youths under the age of 18 should take such drugs to enhance performance.
Fost also doesn't buy the claim by many that performance-enhancing drugs pose a health threat and can kill. For Fost, there is no compelling evidence the use of the drugs causes cancer or other serious ailments.
Because there is no compelling reason to ban performance-enhancing drugs, people should be free to do what they want to do, Fost said.
"I think athletes should be allowed to use them if they want, preferably under medical supervision," he said.
Fost knows his statements run against the grain of the sports world and represent a view embraced by few.
Even President George Bush joined the chorus of those condemning steroids. In his State of the Union speech Tuesday, Bush said, "The use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball, football and other sports is dangerous, and it sends the wrong message" to children. Bush called on the nation's professional sports leagues to get rid of steroids.
Bush's comments are old news to the World Anti-Doping Agency, which exists solely to fight the use of drugs in competition and sets rules and sanctions for athletes. When athletes are caught, they are banned from competition and ostracized by their peers if they test positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
With the Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, less than seven months away and a grand jury in San Francisco looking into a nutritional supplements lab that supplied top athletes, the debate over sports and drugs is on the front burner.
As the debate grows, so, too, does the list of drugs athletes are using to run faster and jump higher. Drugs like human-growth hormone , stanozolone, nandrolone and now THG, a new steroid that until last summer could not be detected in anti-doping tests, are now part of the sports landscape.
Fost, 65, is not a Johnny-come-lately to the topic. He has made his case for 20 years, writing op-ed pieces for newspapers, giving interviews to broadcast media and writing scholarly papers for medical journals.
In an interview, Fost recalled the day former Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of the 1988 Olympic gold medal he won in the 100-meter dash after testing positive for taking steroids. On the same day, Fost said, world-class swimmer Janet Evans was bragging about the "slime suit" she wore that she said made her swim faster.
"She was quite sure it had shred precious seconds off her time. This was hailed in the press," Fost said.
In each case, Johnson and Evans used unnatural methods to achieve their goal of faster times and fame. But Johnson became the poster boy for drug use and Evans was acclaimed as America's sweetheart, he said.
"There are a thousand-plus drugs, chemicals, supplements, foods, etc., that athletes take to enhance performance, most of which are allowed," Fost wrote. Should we ban them all? he asked.
Rules are rules
In sport today, steroids are at the top of the list of banned drugs. According to Gary Wadler, a physician and a U.S. representative of the World Anti-Doping Agency who was instrumental in compiling the new official list of banned drugs, there is no question steroids increase strength and body mass and help athletes recover after rigorous exercise and competition.
But rules are rules, he said, and drugs aren't allowed.
"The rules say you can't transform a sport into a contest of pharmacology as opposed to a contest of character," Wadler said. "In sports, you can't put cork in your bat, or too much curve on your hockey stick. Why? Because the people who govern the sport say those are the rules."
Nonsense, Fost said. Athletes are always looking for an advantage. Receivers in football will trap the ball and say they caught it. Sprinters spend hours on the track trying to beat the starter's pistol.
On the training side, athletes lift weights, try all sorts of different conditioning methods, load up on carbohydrates, ingest pills, powders and other supplements. Officials don't consider those methods unethical or illegal, but they do draw the line on use of performance-enhancing drugs.
High-altitude training, which increases the number of red blood cells in your system, is perfectly legal. Taking EPO, which does the same thing, is illegal.
Not buying the argument
It doesn't make sense to Fost. And he doesn't understand Wadler's objection.
"It's unclear what he means when he says that competition is about character," Fost said of Wadler's comments. "When a distance runner carbo-loads, or takes some other special diet that he thinks will enhance his performance, what does that have to do with character?"
As for health concerns stemming from the use of performance-enhancing drugs, Fost cites as examples the health risks from playing football and hockey. Professional football players, he said, run a very high risk of permanent disability.
"I can remember former National Hockey League President John Ziegler crowing about the health and safety of NHL players," he said. "This in a sport where mayhem is encouraged. The sheer hypocrisy screamed out at me."
But Wadler argues that, in the case of steroids, the physical effects may not be known right away and could hurt an athlete years down the road.
"Hormones have a very different characteristic," Wadler said. "Their adverse effects may not be known for years or decades or generations later."
The next debate over drugs will revolve around so-called gene doping, in which a person's genetic makeup is modified so that the body produces more hormones or natural substances that can improve athletic performance. Various reports say its presence in the body can be detected only through a muscle biopsy.
The World-Anti Doping Agency says it is conducting research to get to the bottom of gene doping. Fost can only wonder why they bother.
01-27-2004, 10:19 AM #2
Good-ass read. I never thought about why people put so much emphasis on the banning of sport-enhancing drugs, besides the side effects and what's going to happen down the road.
01-27-2004, 12:03 PM #3
good post jackked!
01-27-2004, 12:22 PM #4
Good post. Doc is THE MAN!
01-27-2004, 12:40 PM #5
Bumping a good read
01-27-2004, 01:18 PM #6
drugs are bad-ummmm kaaaa
01-27-2004, 01:45 PM #7
gene doping eh .... good read bro \\m//
01-27-2004, 03:08 PM #8
Great post bro!
01-27-2004, 03:30 PM #9
good read...with alot of **** good point made...Fost is a smart man...
01-27-2004, 03:40 PM #10
01-27-2004, 04:23 PM #11
good stuff.....very interesting point of view by fost...
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