Pro Wrestling Finally Trying to Clean Up Its Drug Problem
> 12/20/2005 11:46:44 AM

Fans of the WWE were stunned when, in mid-November, one of the sports entertainment outfit's biggest stars, Eddie Guerrero passed away in his hotel room shortly before he was to perform.  A one time holder of the WWE World Championship belt, Guerrero died at the age of 38.  The abuse of steroids and pain medications were found to be contributing factors to his untimely passing.

The loss of Eddie Guerrero spotlights the negative effects of steroid abuse, which are numerous and far reaching.  Users run risks from the seemingly simple things like sharing unclean needles to health concerns as severe as disturbing the hormonal balance leading to breast development in men and body hair growth in women.

Eddie Guerrero's death was related to the powerful effects that steroids can have on the cardiovascular system.This excerpt from the National Institute on Drug Abuse's Research Report Series on steroid abuse explains the dangers:

Steroid abuse has been associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), including heart attacks and strokes, even in athletes younger than 30. Steroids contribute to the development of CVD, partly by changing the levels of lipoproteins that carry cholesterol in the blood. Steroids, particularly the oral types, increase the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) and decrease the level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL). High LDL and low HDL levels increase the risk of atherosclerosis, a condition in which fatty substances are deposited inside arteries and disrupt blood flow. If blood is prevented from reaching the heart, the result can be a heart attack. If blood is prevented from reaching the brain, the result can be a stroke.

Steroids also increase the risk that blood clots will form in blood vessels, potentially disrupting blood flow and damaging the heart muscle so that it does not pump blood effectively.

If there can be any bright spot in the tragic wake of Guerrero's passing, it might be that it served as a slap in the face to the WWE and pro wrestling in general.  Since the very creation of professional wrestling, the sport has thrived on cartoonishly large physiques and even larger personas.  It has also thrived in large part on the over-hyped emotions of its performers.  Consider this excerpt from an article published in the July-August issue of Psychosomatics:

It is hard to determine whether the unexplained violent rages that occur with AAS abuse might be better understood as part of a paranoid psychotic state or as instances of unprovoked rage unassociated with other psychiatric findings (i.e., as a psychiatric or cognitive disorder or as an impulse control problem). Psychotic symptoms associated with the use of anabolic steroids generally occur among individuals consuming more than 1,000 mg of testosterone weekly. Classic presentations include grandiose and paranoid delusional states  that often occur in the context of a frank psychotic or manic episode. (emphasis mine)

Sound familiar?  With all their over-blown personas and posturing, after only a casual viewing of a WWE fight, it wouldn't be outrageous to suspect one if not both of the fighters to be users of steroids. 

But now, it would seem that the long history of steroid abuse in professional wrestling may be coming to an end.  Only two weeks ago, Vince McMahon, president of World Wrestling Entertainment, announced that the organization would be instituting random drug testing of all its performers.  Following very closely on the heels of Major League Baseball's year long battle over drug test legislation, this move should send a strong message about the seriousness of steroids and the health repercussions of their use.  Freakshow sized combatants have been the WWE's bread and butter since Hulk Hogan was actually called Hulk Hogan.  Their decision to turn their back on what has been a wildly successful formula shows just how serious they are. 

In this day and age, and knowing what we now do about the long term effects of steroids, it is irresponsible of any major sports organization to either explicitly or implicitly tolerate their use.  Amazingly, it appears as if the WWE is ready to join the fight and lead the charge to eliminate steroid use in all levels of sport.


Steroids should be administered by licensed doctors, that are permitted, for the proper use of pain management for patients. Steroids should also be controlled like any other addictive pain drugs. Example: moriphine, oxycodone, etc.
Posted by: Lynn 9/4/2007 10:53:02 AM

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