Sports Medicine And Doping Scandal In Indian Sports

In this article I have discussed sports medicine and its misuse. What is sports medicine? How do sportsperson misuse it? who is responsible for misuse of sports medicine? Its context with the recent doping scandal, and check it.

During the recent commonwealth games held in New Delhi, India was ecstatic when the women's 4*400 m relay race team won the gold medal. It was a feat parallel with none as India made a history by winning its second gold in the athletics category in commonwealth games. This feat made the four runners and their coach Yuri Ogorodnik immortal in the eyes of Indian sports lovers.
But not so long after that, a sad news broke out, "Three of the four members of the 4*400m relay race were tested positive for banned substance." This broke many Indian hearts and evoked many questions, was it real what they were told by the media? Has the women's relay team cheated to get the gold medal? Who was to blame for the mess? What steps are to be taken so that it doesn't happen in the future again? and most important of all, what really is sports medicine?

What is sports medicine?

Sports medicine can be categorised based on the effect it has on the human body-
1. Stimulant like Caffeine, cocaine
2. Build muscle/bones like steroids, insulin
3. Relaxant like alcohol
4. Mask drug use like diuretics, epitestosterone, secretion inhibitors
5. Reduce weight like diuretics
6. Increase oxygen delivery like EPO, artificial oxygen carriers
7. Mask pain like Narcotics, local anaesthetics
8. Other medicine/drugs used for treatment of illness
Athletes take various supplements as the diet alone cannot compensate for the protein and energy requirements that an athlete usually has due to the labour needed for practice. Apart from it athletes need some sports medicine which is administered for therapeutic use like to reduce pain, heal injury and illness.
While some of the sports medicines are essential for athletes, some of them provide them with an unfair advantage over their competitors and/or can be harmful to their own health.

The various side effects of using performance enhancing drugs are-

1. Osteoporosis, Increased Blood sugar, high diabetes risk, Increased Fat deposit.
2. Women developing male characteristics like deepening of voice, coarse skin, baldness, facial hair
3. Menstrual disorders and Infertility
4. Muscle wastage and increased risk of infection
5. Personality disorders, increased aggression etc.

Use of banned substance/performance enhancing drugs.

The use of performance enhancing drugs in sports is as old as sports itself. As far back as ancient Greece, athletes have often been willing to take any preparation that would improve their performance. The extra advantage over their opponents always lures athletes and world class sportsperson to use performance enhancing drugs or use medical procedures such as 'gene doping'.
To check the illegal use of performance enhancing drugs in sports, the International Olympic committee published the prohibited list of drugs in 1963 which is maintained by WADA(World anti-doping agency). India too has formed NADA (National anti-doping agency) which is responsible for promoting, coordinating, and monitoring the doping control programme in sports in all its forms in the country.
Despite monitoring by various world bodies, strict rules for using of drugs, various penalties offered for the offenders, still this illegal activity prevails in the sports world which brings upon the question 'whom to blame for the doping scandals that are arising every now and then?'

Who is to blame for doping scandals?

In the recent doping scandal, the coach has been suspended as he was the person in charge of the athletes and the various food supplements that they take, the players are also in a threat of ban from playing. So, actually who is to be blamed for the mess?
As Saina Nehwal has stated in her interview, "You must be very careful about the medicine before consuming it. I always get my medicines checked by the official doctor even if I am suffering from a minor cold or fever."Although it sounds awkward as it seems virtually impossible to check all the medicine even in minor case such as a cold, but the same holds true in retrospect.
'Sanamacha Chanu', an Indian weightlifter who finished fourth in 2004 Olympics later tested positive for methylhexanamine; a stimulant commonly used as a nasal decongestant listed in the banned drugs.
As majority of the Indian athletes come from villages and are uneducated they tend to believe whatever the coach says or gives them. Also there are some athletes who take these drugs discreetly to perform better in the events.
Also due to cheap availability of such drugs in local stores possesses a potential danger as the athletes may buy various supplements from these stores.

How to prevent such incidents to happen again?

1.Strict rules must be maintained regarding buying and consuming of supplements and sports medicine and must be bought only through licensed stores.
2.Medical tests must be conducted on various non tested supplements and only then must be administered to the athletes.
3.Athletes and other concerned staff must be provided with proper knowledge regarding the usage of sports medicine.
4.Periodical checking must be done in the stores and sports training centres to ensure no foul play.

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