Essay on Doping in Sports
Number of words: 785
The word doping is used to refer to the use of disallowed or prohibited drugs, medication or treatment which is intended to improve the performance of an individual athletically. The use of performance enhancement drugs is unethical and is not allowed by most international organizations that govern sports like the international Olympic committee. This practice has been carried out for centuries. however, high profile doping cases being covered by the media in the recent past has resulted in increased attention towards doping.
The most important reason for doping control is the is the health risk involved with this practice. Most of the substances used to enhance performance have a lot of long-lasting and harmful side effects that may include cardiovascular issues like elevated blood pressure and heart attacks, central nervous system side effects which may include anxiousness, psychosis, depression, and addiction. Other side effects of performance enhancement drugs include hormonal problems like low sex drive and infertility.
Another reason for doping control is that it is used to achieve an unjust advantage in sports. According to anti-doping organizations, performance enhancement significantly reduces the spirit of the competition. A drug-free competition provides equality in opportunities for all athletes and therefore the need for anti-doping campaigns.
There are various testing methods in doping which include urine tests, blood tests, and gas chromatography-combustion-IRMS. The urine test involves acquiring a sample of urine from an athlete which is then divided into samples A and B each in a sealed container that has a designation and a number that uniquely identifies the sample. When sample A tests positive for a disallowed substance, a test on sample B is requested to confirm the result. If this sample still tests positive, then the athlete is considered to have tested positive for the use prohibited substance. The process of confirmation is necessary for the safety of the athlete.
The blood test is used to illegal drugs used t enhance performance by measuring indicators that change when recombinant human erythropoietin is used. These indicators include hematocrit, levels of iron, and reticulocytes. When prohibited substances like erythropoietin are used, transport of oxygen gas into the muscles is enhanced through increasing the haemoglobin mass (blood volume and concentration of haemoglobin) which in turn leads to enhanced performance.
Another testing method involves the use of gas chromatography. This method is used to find isotopic variations in the composition of an organic substance when compared to a standard. When used, this technique can determine whether synthetic testosterone was used which in turn could lead to an increased and levels of testosterone that are not within the normal ranges. This method assumes that in nature, the majority of carbon atoms are carbon -12 while the remaining 1.1% are carbon-13. Therefore, the lower the ratio of the carbon -13 to carbon-12 the higher the probability that synthetic testosterone was used.
Other testing methods involve retesting samples and the use of athlete biological passport. Article 6.5 of the world Ant-Doping Code says that samples can be retested later for up to eight years. This allows the agency to take advantage of the new testing methods for detecting prohibited substances. Athlete biological passport on the other hand is a method that is used to trace locations of an athlete to control doping by monitoring the athletes and testing them for drugs wherever they are and comparing these results to previous tests that have already been done on them in the past.
Many types of drugs have been used for enhancing performance by athletes. Despite doping being practised for many centuries, it is harmful to an athlete’s overall health to some extent and is also harmful to the spirit of the sport. The involvement of anti-doping agencies like the World Anti-Doping Agency, through their various doping testing methods, is important in combating this practice in the world of sport.
American College of Medical Toxicology. (January 25, 2017). What is “doping” and Athletes do this?
McKennan J., Thurston M., Jonathan T. (2021). Doping. American Medical Society for Sports Medicine.
World Anti-Doping Agency. (2015). World Anti-Doping Code