What are some of the side effects for adult players? continued...
If the use is relatively short-term, a couple of years, the effects may be minimal. Lots of sports players who've done this are turning up with diseases and problems.
We need some major, good studies looking at long-term effects within sport.
Amphetamines certainly create high-strung behaviors, bizarre behaviors, much more than any of the other drugs
In women, [steroids have] huge effects on hirsutism (excess hair) and effects on potential reproductive ability. Female athletes do it; they just seem to be less likely to be caught at the moment.
How widespread are these drugs among younger players?
We don't know. If I'm a young boy, or young girl for that matter, and I'm looking to be successful -- and when you're young, you really care about winning -- and when you see your heroes doing this, they become a role model. That's a very bad role model.
I think we've got a problem because as you go to younger kids, clearly this is not something you want to be doing and certainly, around puberty this could be a total disaster.
What are some of the side effects for younger players?
Younger players you can get alterations in growth, in particular. The other big potential effect is the effect on behaviors, the so-called " roid rage."
How young are some players starting?
I think we've got people -- 12-, 13-, 14-year-olds -- who certainly see this as something that's worthwhile.
What would you want parents to keep an eye out for if they have a young athlete?
If they've got a young athlete and his muscles suddenly go up dramatically, that's probably the single best way to look for most of these drugs. Behavior changes in puberty -- all behavior changes don't mean they are taking drugs.
The big thing is if a person is suddenly bulking up. It doesn't come without working, as well. It's a combination of the person who starts to work out a lot but taking a steroid. Somebody whose performance goes up dramatically -- they were the sort of the middle of the pack and they're suddenly at the top. Now, this may be a normal growth spurt, but those sort of things, as a parent you've got to be suspicious that maybe your kid is doing something.