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The use of steroids, human growth hormones and peptides is not something new neither is it something that will end soon. Athletes have been known to use performance-enhancing drugs, and others have been suspended for this. The medications enhance performance and boost their energy (James, 2017), making them withstand the stress and pressure that comes with training. For this, many use drugs to increase their pain and stress threshold. It is, however, better to manage this problem carefully, than trying to scrape it off at once.
Part 1: Bardach Steps 1-4
1. Start by identifying your client’s position (e.g., NFL commissioner, IOC President, etc.).
My client is a commissioner of the National Football League.
a. Include a very short summary of the power, resources, and/or authority that your client could bring to bear on the problem.
As players continue to violate the leagues anti-doping policy, suspensions will continue in the NFL. As they earn a living from playing soccer, this means no pay for players as the commissioner of the NFL can suspend and ban them from playing for four years or life in case of repeat incidences. He has the power to decide which players will take a test and which will be active players, despite them playing during investigations. He will also get to determine what qualifies a player for a test.
2. Select one policy problem and identify the root causes of the problem.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) begun prohibiting drugs in the ’60s but due to pharmaceutical advancements, doping has thrived since this time. The most common methods include the use of injections using hormone erythropoietin (EPO), blood transfusions or taking human growth hormone. A good example is Russia’s Olympic track and field teams as well as the whole Paralympic squad, that was banned from the Rio Olympics.
It does not stop at that as other countries as Beijing and China have fallen prey to doping. For some, the existing system has failed. The anti-doping agency is bankrupt and would therefore not have been able to do anything concerning the Russian conspiracy had it not been for a whistle-blower. For others, athletes should be allowed to take drugs that are not harmful to their health. As much as this would reduce sports to a competition as to who has the best stimulants, they think that some athletes will look for a chemical edge. To catch them would however need more support – financial or otherwise.
3. Describe the most important consequences of the problem.
Besides an athlete using drugs to enhance their durability and increase their stress tolerance, the use of steroids and other enhancing drugs can have detrimental effects on the player. For those who use human growth hormone to boost their weight lifting strength, it can lead to an enlarged heart muscle, which can be fatal. It can also weaken the body muscles. The drugs will make the muscles look aesthetically bigger, but that does not mean that they are healthy. In most cases, it is fluid retention. Some peptides repair soft tissue damage, shortening the time it takes to recover from an injury. In some studies, the use of peptides could accelerate the growth of cancer, since the death of John Manor. Many doctors worry that some of these products are made under substandard conditions with no standards in manufacturing. Notwithstanding, doping is shameful to both a player and the country.
a. Use both evidence and logic to demonstrate why the problem needs to be addressed. Remember, one-sided arguments and exaggerated rhetoric are rarely convincing.
The problem needs to be controlled, as it is unethical for cheating to take place anywhere and is not exempted in sports (Lyle, 2015). People die or their health affected due to doping. Though there are methods as taking coffee to enhance endurance or using an altitude tent to increase the number of red blood cells, the use of body enhancers and chemically produced stimulants have a detrimental effect to the athletes.
As 1 – 3% of athletes test positive for the banned substance, another 29 – 45% admit to doping (Lyle, 2015). It clearly shows that doping will not end soon. Though with the rise in technological and pharmaceutical advancement, it can be thought that dopers will be caught or suspended, it is not usually the case. Athletes will look for ways to cheat tests or being caught. The numbers are however high due to them using various drugs in low quantities, or by blood transfusion which is hard to detect.
Instead of fighting it, solutions as physiological doping can be used where blood counts and hormones have a limit (Gershon, 2016). Instead of focusing on how the results were achieved, more focus should be on how safe these products are. Health issues are what the main concerns of doping are. Many have died from health issues related to the use of these drugs, and this should be the main reason it should be addressed.
4. Provide four to five credible policy alternatives that merit your client’s consideration.
Credible alternatives as physiological doping and use of functional foods are some of the acceptable options to doping. Also, an athlete can decide not to take these drugs. Given that there are natural doping methods as the use of caffeine and altitude tents, an athlete can choose to boost their performance naturally.
a. Explain the rationale behind each alternative and provide sufficient detail about how it would work. (Proposed alternatives should be conceptually distinct rather than slight variations of one another. One of your options should be a “do nothing” or “status quo” choice. Describe it in the same level of detail as your other alternatives.)
As it is not necessary for athletes to use body enhancer, they have the option of not using these drugs at all. It will, however, be unfair given that other players use the pills to enhance performance. Should an athlete still take these drugs then physiological doping should act to limit blood count and hormones to a certain level. After this, too much levels can be investigated. Use of functional foods is another way to enhance performance as well as a proper diet during training, which will give the athlete the needed energy and strength.
b. Describe the evaluation criteria that you believe should drive the decision about which alternative to select. (Bear in mind that your standards must be operationalized in your Final Policy Analysis; you are not developing criteria for use during policy implementation. Be specific about how your tests would be operationalized in an analysis. Some requirements may be necessary not because your client cares about them, but because other stakeholders care about them. Do not describe how your alternatives will fare concerning the criteria; describe the requirements. This Framing Memo will form the foundation for your Final Policy Analysis.
As the use of some of these drugs could cause death, it should be a source of concern when healthy athletes suddenly die or become sick due to the use of these performance drugs. There other symptoms as an increased risk of high blood pressure as well as blood clots, which should be used to decide on which player takes a test. These athletes can be tested for increased hormones or blood count, and urine samples should be checked. Though it may take some time, it is still important to catch a suspicious amount of these drugs in athletes system before it is late.
Part 2: Bardach Steps 5-7 (your paper represents step 8).
5. The student should project the performance of alternatives
Though an alternative that most seem to agree to includes giving athletes a chance to use these drugs, it should be clear that the levels need to be monitored and it should not be harmful. But given that doping has been around for a long while, only means that people need to accept now that doping is indeed a real problem that will not go away anytime soon. With this, there are ways of monitoring an athlete’s hormones and blood levels. Dangerously high amounts should be a cause for alarm and in severe cases could be the reason why a player is suspended. Various foods also enhance performance and add body muscle and strength.
6. Assess the trade-offs among alternatives
Combined, they are not as fast and as effective as the enhancing drugs being used. Also, as it is a problem, it should be first controlled instead of eliminated. It still bears with it the unethical title the sports industry is known for.
6. Recommend an alternative.
My alternative would be physiological doping. In as much as it is a menace, it can be controlled but not eliminated. Control means that an athlete can use these drugs, but to a certain level as above, that would have consequences in their health of in their career. As it cannot be eradicated at once, it is better to maintain these hormone levels to a safe amount before deciding to do away with doping in a slow regimen completely.
a. About step seven, make sure to explain WHY you have chosen that alternative. The analysis should demonstrate the student understands course readings and be based both on logic and on the presentation and critique of relevant evidence. Make sure you briefly articulate the essential trade-offs your client’s faces.
Though my client may want to do away with any form of doping, it has to be understood that it is hard to do away with it at once. As athletes will cheat either way one time in their career, it only makes sense to keep these numbers under check for their health. Instead, I think the commissioner should meet the athletes in the middle and allow it only to a certain amount. Should an athlete decide not to dope, then that is their choice. It, however, would breach sport ethics and the anti-doping policies put in place to discourage the use of performance-enhancing drugs to take advantage over their competitors.
Maybe athletes are becoming more stronger and faster, the use of doping has however still been used to enhance these performances at an undetectable level. Whether or not doping takes place, it is an issue that affects everyone. Support is needed, and various other ways of building muscles should be sought. As these drugs are linked with health complications, it is better to control levels until we can do away with doping in a slow process.
James, S. (2017). Encyclopaedia of Exercise Medicine in Health and Disease. Vol. 4(5), p. 123 – 126
Lyle, J. (2015). Encyclopaedia of Sports Medicine. Vol. 32(2), p. 204 – 206
Gershon, T. (2016). Encyclopaedia of Sport and Exercise Psychology. Vol. 22 (3), p. 233 – 235