Steroids: Will Pro's Influence Young Athletes? -, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Steroids: Will Pro's Influence Young Athletes?


December 13, 2007

Albany - - It can be a deadly combination- teenagers and steroids. Thursday, a long-awaited report from Major League Baseball linked dozens of big-name players to illegal performance enhancing drugs. Many young athletes are influenced by the pros.

Barry Bonds and Marion Jones have been the big names of scrutiny lately. Now other athletes, including Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Gary Sheffield are now popping up in question on whether they too used illegal drugs to help them perform. 

Jason Jones and Christopher Edwards are local stars on the basketball court at Westover High School. Both are on their way to college with several offers on the table.

"I heard a couple of guys on the football team say something about one person being on steroids but you never know until you see it happen and stuff," Jones says.

They admit talk of steroids often runs rampant among young athletes. But talking and doing are two separate things.

"You're cheating the game. If you aint playing fair, you're cheating the game," Edwards added.

We all know young people emulate who and what they see on TV. A new report out links several professional athletes to using steroids.

The Mitchell Report, released Thursday, lists more than 75 athletes, including former Braves players David Justice, John Rocker, Gary Sheffield and more than a dozen Yankees past and present. They are all associated with either steroids or human growth hormones.

"Were very alarmed that it might be occurring in younger children," says Dr. Joyce Neal.

She says steroids use is dangerous, especially for young people.

"In a child, it actually will stunt your growth and it increases your risk of liver cancer, liver injury," she adds.

It's enough to convince these future stars. When it comes to performance drugs, they say they're steering clear.

"If they're in the highest level of athletics, why take steroids?" Jones said.

They want to win because of their unaltered abilities.

"If you're using this and that makes you excel over somebody that works hard, I don't feel that's right," Edwards said.

The Mitchell Report is the end of a 20 month investigation by former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell, who happens to be a director of the Boston Red Sox.

Steroids can also make users aggressive. Doctors say, when taken out of a physician's care, they're often abused and can have irreversible long term side affects.