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Should doping be allowed in sport?
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Doping poses a health risk to athletes

It is the responsibility of governing bodies to minimize risk to athletes where possible. Allowing doping would run counter to this responsibility.
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Many of the drugs used to enhance an athlete’s performance carry dangerous side effects. These put the athlete’s health at risk.

The Argument

The governing bodies of professional sports have a responsibility to mitigate the risks to competitors where possible. Preventing athletes from taking performance-enhancing drugs by banning doping is one way of mitigating health and injury risks.

Counter arguments

If athletes are willing to take these risks, and many are, then why should the world of competitive sport stop them? Anyone that doesn’t want to risk their health does not have to take performance enhancing drugs. But those that are willing to put their health at risk in exchange for improved performance should be free to decide what to put into their bodies. Additionally, the adverse health impacts of doping pale in comparison to the risks athletes are forced to take every day, risks that are permitted in the rule book. American football players suffer concussions that can cause dementia later in life,[1] rugby players wear out their knees and shoulders to the point that they cannot hold their children after retirement, [2] and cliff divers risk their lives every time they compete. Put into perspective, the adverse health effects of doping are relatively manageable compared to the risks that come from competing at the highest level. If sport was serious about athletes’ safety, it would look at existing rules that put players at risk, not worry about doping.


The rules of sport should be designed in such a way as to protect participants health where possible.


[P1] Sport governing bodies have a responsibility to reduce risks to competitors health and injury where possible. [P2] Doping increases the risk of injury and lasting health issues. [P3] Therefore, doping should not be permitted.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Doping is a choice. Athletes not willing to put their health at risk can choose not to take performance-enhancing drugs.


This page was last edited on Sunday, 14 Jun 2020 at 19:33 UTC

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