Steroids used by Football players
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Steroids used by Football players

Although we often associate use of steroids with bodybuilding, weight lifting, or cycling, however, we tend to neglect the use of steroids in football. However, American football differs in a way that it requires higher body weight, more physical power, and not just endurance when compared to soccer.

In one anonymous survey, more than 10% of NFL players accepted using steroids. Although, experts think that in reality use of steroids in football is much higher. It is believed that the majority of football players took steroids sometime in their life to increase size and strength. Alzado, a well-known football star, and who accepted using steroids lifelong famously said that “every football player he knew used steroids.”

There is a reason to believe that steroid use is widespread among the football players. Since the sports it quite demanding. Football players weight 300lbs and still they are expected to run like a sprinter and have the stamina of marathon player.

Steroids use among NFL players

NFL was among the organizations that really took long to take substance abuse seriously, that is why steroid use among NFL players is so widespread. NFL only started taking preventive steps in the direction from the late 1980s and became stricter after the death of Alzado.

Two categories of performance enhancing drugs that are more commonly used by football players are steroids and human growth hormone (HGH). Steroids undoubtedly remain the drug of choice due to their better safety profile, and they are better at improving muscular mass, strength, and endurance. Till date, more than 100 of high-profile players have been banned due to use of performance-enhancing drugs, and most of them were found positive for steroids or had elevated testosterone levels. Some of the recent high profile suspensions from sports have been:

  • Stedman Bailey, St. Louis- banned from four games for testing positive.
  • Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville- suspended for multiple violations.
  • Eric Herman, New York Giants- tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
  • Reshad Jones, Miami- tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
  • Wes Welker, Denver- tested positive for amphetamines.
  • Bill Romanowski – accepted openly for using steroids.

NFL policy on steroids use

NFL has become quite strict since 1987. However, till date little more than 100 players have been suspended for steroid use. All this says that testing for steroids is not adequate and that they are still very much used by the players.

On the other hand, most specialists agree that there won’t be any reduction in the use of steroids in football. Players are paid according to performance. Without steroids, they would be lighter and slower, and sports would not be that exciting. Considering the massive amount of money involved in the sports, steroids use would continue to exist in football.

Steroids use in NCAA football

Though the steroids use in NCAA is not as rampant as in the NFL, still statistics indicate that use of steroids college football is on the rise. One of the reasons why steroids use in NCAA is less prevalent is due to age factor and lower income levels. Moreover, in college football, it is much easier to escape steroid testing.

Finally, there is a reason to believe that steroid use in the NFL is more common than stated or found by testing. After all, the NFL is a private sporting body, and thus testing for steroids is not so advanced. Additionally, due to the massive money involved, the organization is not that seriously interested in controlling the use of performance-enhancing drugs.