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Performance Enhancement Drugs in Professional Sports

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/12/2014 Category: Sports
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 1,058 times Debate No: 66907
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Performance Enhancements are Putting Athletes in Danger
Athletes are cheating more and more now by taking performance enhancements for their professional sport. An athletes health could be at risk while taking performance enhancement drugs, we already have the great technology to support them, plus the athletes are playing their sport for the determination it takes, and the love of the game. Therefore, Performance Enhancement Drugs (PED) in professional sports should remain illegal for the players to keep them safe.
Athletes already have great technology to help them with their performance while playing their sport. Athletes will use scientific diets, and oxygen tents as a healthier way of helping them improve. Sports have the technology to push the athletes bodies to extents. "Athletes already use technology to push their bodies to the edge of human capability. Scientific diets, oxygen tents that stimulate high altitudes and supplements that fine-tune already genetically superior bodies are all simple-- and legal"examples." (Duncan). None of those examples are illegal to use for the athlete to help improve their performance. On the other hand, when using PEDs for the extra technology it will help them become better, faster, stronger, then it will make the sport more interesting for both the players and the crowd. "Scientists and engineers have recently developed devices that bump up cognitive performance by dousing the brain in low levels of electricity and using magnetic fields to stimulate the brains nerve cells." (Duncan). This is saying that now because of the help of scientists and engineers athletes can use certain devices to encourage the brain to keep going. Instead of risking their health, they have other ways to improve their performance.
PEDs could cause multiple health problems that could be very dangerous. The website of the World Anti-Doping Agency gives warnings on what steroids could do to the athletes ad their body. "The website of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) for example, warns that steroids increase the odds of mood shifts, reduced sperm counts, damage to the heart, and masculinization in women." (Duncan). There are many different problems that could occur while taking PEDs, they only list a small amount of possible health risks. If a player were to have one of these problems, then they could be taken out of the sport because of the damage to the body. Yet, athletes could want to use these in order to get stronger to help prevent any injury that could happen while playing. Some athletes are willing to take the chance to help with making the sport safer for the player.
The purpose of having the sport is for competition. When an athlete uses PEDs, that purpose is no longer there and with competition the love of the game remains. "Any thoughtful person who plays a sport understands the connection among talent, dedication, and excellence. Every sport sets limits." (Murray). While the athlete is playing the sport each time he/she plays the love of the game should grow. The determination and competition will still be there, but when taking PEDs the athlete forgets about why they are playing in the first place. But, when the athlete uses PEDs it does make them become stronger and better at their sport making it a little bit easier on them, the athlete will then be able to play longer and practice longer because of their strength.
To have athletes remain safe, PEDs should remain illegal. Athletes have amazing technology to help them improve in their sport, and there are many different health problems that can occur. Lastly, athletes are playing for the love and competition of the game. Hard work and determination will get the athlete farther than risking the athletes career with taking PEDs.


Hello, and thanks for opening this discussion.

I will be countering these specific claims made by my opponent:
1. Use of PED's destroys the spirit of competition and love of the game.
2. Hard work and determination are all that is needed to make athletes "elite."
3. PED's are too dangerous to be used.

I wish to make it clear that I do not advocate the unrestricted use of all PED's. I will instead make the case that PED's are not significantly different than other performance enhancing measures, and that the controlled allowance of PED's will make sports both safer and more competitive.

1. Use of PED's destroys the spirit of competition and love of the game - Quite the contrary, PED's increase the spirit of competition. Nature has it's own performance enhancing drug called "genetics." Genes are attained by pure luck, and it is undeniable that some genes bestow natural advantages for some sports. For example, superior eyesight is proven to be a natural advantage in baseball. Slender legs are proven advantages in distance running. Long torsos are a natural advantage in swimming. The list goes on and on [1]. If no performance enhancement was ever allowed, elite sports would only be accessible to a few genetically lucky people. As a result, performance enhancement allows more people to pursue their love for the game who may not have naturally bestowed advantages. For example, the pro baseball player Tommy John was bestowed by nature with an inferior tendon in his arm. In 1974, he underwent surgery to replace his tendon and went on to win, on average, 20 more games per season than he did before he surgery [2]. Since eyesight is so advantageous in baseball, many baseball players routinely get laser eye surgery to artificially enhance their sight [3]. This could definitely be considered artificial performance enhancement, which may be considered unfair. Yet without access to such measures athletes would be subject to a different kind of unfairness - the genetic lottery. In many ways, performance enhancement allows the genetic playing field to be more level. Sports would actually be LESS competitive if the genes bestowed by nature were the only PED's allowed, because less people would be able to compete. If certain PED's were available to everyone, then people with less advantageous natural traits could overcome them and there would be more competitors.

2. Hard work and determination are all that is needed to make athletes "elite." - This ties into the last point. Hard work can definitely make you better, and it is important. But when genetics come into play, no amount of hard work can overcome natural gifts. Consider the example of Stefan Holm, a world-class Scandinavian high jumper. Stefan was the epitome of an all-natural athlete forged through hard work. He began practicing high-jump in his back yard at the age of 6. As he got older, he followed a very strict diet and weight lifting routine to strengthen his legs. He was obsessed as a teenager and practiced for hours each day, taking thousands and thousands of practice jumps. After years of practice, he won gold in the 2004 Olympics. Two years later, a college student named Donald Thomas was dared by a friend to take a high jump at a track practice. In the first jump of his life, with no training, he cleared 6'6". Two days later, in flat high-top shoes and basketball shorts, he cleared 7' and broke the university record. 8 months later, with only mild amounts of practice, he went against Holm at the world championships and defeated the man who had been training obsessively all his life. Donald Thomas was born with an abnormally long Achilles Tendon which allowed him to jump extraordinarily high with little effort [4]. Clearly, hard work and determination was not enough to give Holm an edge over such a genetically lucky individual. Once again, with equal access to PEDs, all athletes would truly be able to reap the rewards of hard work while avoiding the futility of genetic disadvantage.

3. PEDs are too dangerous - no doubt some are, and they should be banned. But some are not. They are no more dangerous than other performance enhancing measures such as eye surgery, tendon replacement, or self-imposed anorexia (wrestlers). What is more dangerous is the current system, where PEDs are illegal but still widely used. In the current system, those who play by the rules are indirectly punished and outmatched by those who do not and avoid getting caught. This creates a "cat and mouse" game atmosphere where athletes do not stop using PEDs, they merely devise new ways to avoid detection. It also blurs the line between what is truly a PED and what is not. Athletes are people who naturally want to push limits, and it creates a more dangerous climate where they try to experiment with PEDs that are potent enough to be questionable yet barely legal enough to be legit. Banning all PEDs is hardly the best solution to the problem of sportsmanship and fairness.

[1] All examples taken from David Epstein's book "The Sports Gene."
[3] Ibid.
[4] David Epstein, "The Sports Gene"
Debate Round No. 1


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Debate Round No. 2


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Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 2 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Forfeit
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture