MLS 580 - FINAL - Science and Baseball Just Dont Mix FINAL

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  1. 1. M. Rodenas 1 Michael R. Rodenas Professor Paul Morris MLS 580 - ASU 05 December 2014 Science and Baseball Just Don't Mix
  2. 2. M. Rodenas 2 Summary Presentation The project or paper I worked on this semester, was quite a departure from the memoirs of my daughter, which was my subject for my first Practicum class in January 2014, which seems like an eternity ago, now that I have eight MLSt classes completed and under my belt. The primary thing I learned in this second Practicum class was that putting together a research paper with several dozen sources takes an enormous amount of time. Not only do you have to assemble the paper, but one must also read and vet dozens of websites, while pouring over scads of articles, newspapers, books and blogs while researching a subject in today's modern classroom. In this case, since I was fortunate enough to select a life-long interest of mine, baseball, and the current situation of drug testing in the game, it made my research and work all the more enjoyable. But, nonetheless, it still is a lot of time invested that one must spend in addition to preparing the final document. Therefore, I have concluded it is almost an imperative that you enjoy the subject matter before you begin such an intense study or research paper. I can't imagine preparing a semester research paper on the economics of indigenous, Amazon-based tribes or the political realities of Third World countries, as those subjects bear little or no interest to me. I believe you need to have a deep appreciation or fondness for your subject or course of study in order to be fully emotionally invested and engaged in your work. When I compare my time spent on the two identical Practicum classes, even though my memoir project on my daughter was three times the volume in its' final work, I seemed to have spent as much, or even more time on my baseball research paper because of all the reading and research required. I literally read as many as 700 to 800 pages of material in preparing this paper, while the memoir project for my daughter was simply recalling memories, and conveying them onto paper. Another main difference was that even though I knew the subject matter of my daughter even
  3. 3. M. Rodenas 3 more intensely than I know baseball, afer all, Addison is my daughter, I believe I have much more confidence in my attached work regarding the subject of drug testing in baseball. I fretted endlessly about how one day my daughter might perceive every word in my memoir about her, as I had to be especially careful describing the relationship I had, or have with her mother. I realize Addison is going to have only one mother in her entire life, and I needed to be very cautious that I did not write anything offensive to her that may come back to haunt me when Addison receives a copy of the memoir when she turns 18 or 21 years old. Therefore, on some level, I did not have that kind of long-term anxiety I experienced when I wrote my memoirs on my daughter, as my research paper on baseball was just met with some sudden and unexpected family and life circumstances that had me playing caregiver again for my mother the past two weeks in Chicago. Although I have enjoyed writing a research paper this semester, can appreciate the process, and am happy with the end product, I think I would much rather pursue another memoir, a creative non- fiction or travel story for my Capstone Project in the spring. I would much rather enjoy exclusively writing than spending eighty or more percent of my time researching.
  4. 4. M. Rodenas 4 Science and Baseball Just Don't Mix The illicit use of steroids and other similar performance enhancing drugs by players in Major League Baseball is a serious problem and threat to the game, and needs to be immediately addressed for a myriad of reasons. The covert use of steroids and human growth hormones (HGH) has proven deleterious to the game, a generation of its' stars and harmed the reputation of our national pastime, all the while putting our nation's youth at risk. The term, steroids, when used within the context of athletic performance enhancing drugs, refers to a class of drugs more precisely known as anabolic androgenic steroids (AAH). Anabolic steroids are natural or synthetic versions of testosterone, which is the primary male sex hormone (Matsumoto, 2001). Steroids create an environment where it greatly enhances the natural process of muscle growth and the increase of muscle mass, while limiting the breakdown of proteins in the muscle cells. As a result, steroid users can increase muscle gain resulting from strenuous exercise and maximize the impact of a high protein diet. In addition, because of their anti-catabolic effect, steroids reduce the soreness which normally results from strenuous exercise, which allows athletes who are using steroids to exercise more frequently (Mitchell, 2007). So, as long as a steroid does not lose efficacy for the athlete, larger doses generally result in rapid gains of lean muscle mass and strength (Basin, 2005). Firstly, steroids, as well as HGH pose substantial health risks to adult users, while exponentially enhancing the risks in younger, high school-aged children who use them. Because steroids and HGH are illegal and banned substances, users often obtain dubious specimens, many of which are often times contaminated, cut or laced with other less costly enhancements, and often from black market sources. The illegally using ballplayers generally self-administer these products without the guidance of proper medical supervision (Mitchell, 2007). Often times these offending athletes ingest or administer these products based upon advice which was gathered from other contemporaries, such as other ballplayers,
  5. 5. M. Rodenas 5 body builders or internet sites, none of which are truly qualified to prescribe these illicit drugs, nor are they legitimized by these sources (Mitchell, 2007). Even the United States Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, has opined on the subject of steroids, while stating the following to the Associated Press that, the problem of steroid use is less a moral and ethical issue, than a public health issue (Fainaru-Wada, 2004). Secondly, beyond the dangerous health effects on the ballplayers, the public perception that baseball players in Major League Baseball (MLB) use these substances contributes greatly to the rampant and expanding use of steroids by younger, high school age children, who often times emulate their heroes, which, in turn, greatly harms their physical well being (Mitchell, 2007). Adolescents might even be at a much greater risk of harm than adult athletes from the use of steroids and HGH, because of the intense hormonal changes during adolescence, which is naturally occurring in their bodies, can exacerbate their adverse psychiatric side effects (Browser, 2005). Combine steroids with the already high rate of depression in the 15-24 aged demographic, and it is a prescription for suicide. This age group is already at high risk; when you add steroids you are increasing the risk of suicide (UMHS, 2005). Studies have shown alarmingly high rates of steroid use by teenagers, even at the high school level. One such study, which was inclusive of all high schools, both public and private, in the United States, showed that 4.1% of males, as well as 2.0% of all high school female aged athletes, spanning the entirety of the 9th through 12th grades have used steroids. Based upon the numbers of high school athletes, this translates into roughly 375,000 adolescent males, and more than 175,000 high school females using illegal substances, in order to achieve superior strength and heightened results over their rival classmates (Bahrke, 2000). Other studies have shown illegal steroid use ranges anywhere from as low as three percent, to a high of eleven percent of all high school athletes across the nation (Darkes, 2005).
  6. 6. M. Rodenas 6 Medical ethics has prevented the study of massive doses of steroids and HGH taken by athletes who use these drugs to obtain an athletic advantage, and there are still many who say the adverse side effects of taking these illegal substances such as steroids and HGH are vastly exaggerated (Bagatell, 1996). However, despite of this ethical limitation on medical research, there is plenty of sufficient data to conclude there is a direct link between steroid and HGH use and significant adverse side effects. These side effects may include: Psychiatric Effects Studies have determined a link between steroid abuse and adverse psychiatric side effects such as both mania and hypo-mania, as well as severe depression. Steroid users and abusers also tend to be at a much greater risk of suicide, especially during withdrawal or whenever the athletes stop taking them (Steroids, 2006). Liver Damage Oral anabolic steroids have been linked to liver damage, especially impaired liver functioning, cholestasis (which is impaired bile drainage), jaundice, a heightened risk of liver tumors, liver cancer, and peliosis hepatitis (the life threatening development of blood filled cysts in the liver) (Steroids, 2006). Harm to Reproductive System Steroids and HGH can have significant adverse effects on the reproductive system because of the interference they can have with the body's production of testosterone. The long term use of these drugs can result in shrinkage of the testes, as well as a reduction in sperm count, which can easily result in infertility (Steroids, 2006). Musculoskeletal Effects If taken by adolescents, steroids can cause stunted growth due to the premature fusion of growth plates of the long bones in both the legs and arms. There is also evidence to support that steroid use poses a much greater risk of tendon and muscle tears in athletes (Steroids, 2006). Other Adverse Effects in Men Other adverse side effects in men, is that steroids can cause
  7. 7. M. Ro