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Should doping be allowed in sport?
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Children are involved in elite competitive sport

Children are often involved in sport at the highest level. It would be irresponsible to allow coaches and parents to push children into taking performance enhancing drugs.
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Accepting doping in sport would mean that all elite athletes would be encouraged to take performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). This would include the many children involved in competitive, elite-level sport, for whom the drugs could have lasting health and psychological effects.

The Argument

Few will argue that coaches and parents are entitled to ply children with drugs. But that is precisely what will happen if doing so were permitted in professional sport. Children involved in sports will be encouraged or forced by their coaches and parents to take performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). This is effectively a glorified form of child exploitation. PEDs are dangerous, especially in the hands of children. Specifically, PEDs have the ability to drastically alter the human body and biological functions, this, in turn, can often include improving athletic performance in certain instances. However, these drugs also prove to be extremely dangerous, and at times, deadly. PEDs can cause physical health problems such as liver, heart, and kidney damage, and they are likewise associated with a 2-to-4-fold increased risk of suicide. [1] Based on a study regarding young East German doping victims in elite sports, other changes in physicality are seen in young girls— some of which consist of breast reduction or lack of breast development, facial hair growth, lowering of the voice, male facial appearance, enlargement of the clitoris, as well as atrophy of the uterus/underdeveloped uterus. On the other hand, boys will encounter testicle atrophy, gynecomastia, and an enlarged prostate; putting them at early risk for the development of a variety of different cancers. Generally, young children and teens will also experience stunted growth as their bones mature too fast and stop growing at an early age. Many of the physical side effects of doping are irreversible in children and can ultimately lead to premature death. [2] Thus, although PEDs prove harmful in the bodies of adults, the effects found in young children and teens prove devastating. By professionalizing doping in elite sports, children will also be encouraged to follow in similar paths as they cling to their sport idols. Young children will no longer wish to have the same shoes or jersey as their favorite athlete. Instead, their sights will be set higher: on doping; a faster way to be just like their icon. Normalizing PEDs will only encourage the frequency of their use among children. Why even risk subjecting them to the destructive effects of doping? On top of this idea, when adding competitive parents and coaches to the mix, the addition of PEDs to youth sports becomes a sickening reality of abuse.[3]

Counter arguments

The professionalization of Performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) will be a highly regulated aspect of sports management. No dangerous doses would be implemented, and the administration of PEDs to children will constitute as a form of abuse and exploitation. In turn, proper punishment will be administered. Moreover, children should continue heavy education into the negative effects of drug abuse, especially when it comes to PEDs.[4] However, it is also important to note that current statistics reported by the CDC mark that doping among children is on an upward trend. Yet, professional doping is not even in existence, so how could it be responsible? Surveys show that doping among children and teens is not executed as a way to improve their athletic ability but rather to achieve a certain masculine look. According to William Roberts, MD, president of the American Collge of Sports Medicine, "There are a lot of kids at a high school level using steroids to increase performance, but the majority of them are just trying to look better... It is not just a young person thing," Roberts says. "Look at all the plastic surgeons who are doing well. All kinds of people are nipping that and tucking this and getting implants to make their calves look better. A lot of people are dissatisfied with the way they are. Chemicals are one way to change that. Away from athletics, you see that going on everywhere."[5] By claiming that the professionalization and regulation of PEDs will single-handedly encourage the frequency of its use among children, the real issue is ignored. One that sees our culture perpetuate potentially harmful behavior, like over-dosing on PEDs, to attain the perfect body. Doping will not increase among children due to professionalization as intense preventative regulations will be placed in effect.[6] For example, these regulations will include the prescription of a non-harmful dose (under threat of losing a medical license and sports career), only those of a certain age will be prescribed, as well as other implementations like a psychiatric exam.


[P1] Doping is particularly damaging to a child's health, and a form of abuse. [P2] Doping produces irreversible effects in children. [P3] Children will look up to their idols and only be encouraged to participate in PEDs.

Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Thursday, 2 Jul 2020 at 17:01 UTC

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