STEROID USAGE -THE REAL FACTS
(Tuesday, June 9, 10:15- 11:30 a.m.)
In the interest of getting this program off as close to the starting time as possible, let me begin as our panel continues to get organized with our slide presentation and all. My name is
John Toner. I am delighted to be here this morning to introduce the subject of the morning, the
facts about anabolic steroids. We are delighted with the panel we have for this occasion. Let me
be brief in my introductions of the panel, but, also forthright with the facts as they are. Our NCAA testing program has just been concluded with the spring championships in outdoor track and field and baseball. The results of the spring are not in, but we did test in the spring 1,500 athletes, as compared to 1,000 athletes in each of the other two seasons. Those results, when they are in, will be presented to the Executive Committee and then there will be a year-end gathering of the facts regarding testing. The membership will be apprised of that in the next issue of the NCAA News follow- ing the reception of the facts by the Executive Committee.
Our experience in the fall and winter testing has gotten quite a lot of notoriety. Let's not kid ourselves that the very low incidence of drug testing positive has done more than it actually
has. Certainly. we can feel that it has served as a deterrent and it has spurred attempts in drug awareness on all of our campuses. But when this morning's session is over. I think we will all be convinced of the problem of use of anabolic steroids. NCAA drug testing procedures may be camouflaging the real truth. that sophisticated ways and means of using performance enhancers in the steroid class are very much alive and well today.
With no further ado, I want to start this morning's session by introducing Mike Clark. Mike is presently the strength and conditioning coach at the University of Oregon. We are delighted that Mike has agreed to join us and very thankful to Bill Byrne at the University of Oregon for allowing him to be part of this NACDA program. Mike is an exercise physiologist. He graduated in that field with an advance degree from the University of Kansas. He was Region Four Strength Coach of the Year in 1985 and 1982 and the Region Four Director of the NSCA. He's the former Kansas Power Lifting Champion in the 220 pound class and as a former Kansas record holder in the squat. He comes to us with a lot of information and he does his homework. Our format is this: Mike is going to take about 25 minutes to present his part of the formal program, followed by the presentation by Dr. Catlin for about the same amount of time. That ought to leave us with 12 to 20 minutes for questioning at the end of the program. I am proud to introduce to you, Mike Clark.
I'm Mike Clark. If I could get those lights, please, we can get started right away. The last convention this size I spoke to everyone was sitting out there in sweatsuits. There truly is a big difference speaking to this group than the strength coaches of America. I'm truly delighted to be here and I hope this presentation will enlighten you and give you some interesting facts to take home.
Our topic today is, "Anabolic Steroids: the Real Facts," or in this case, the real problem. Just how many of our college athletes are taking anabolic steroids? In 1983, Dr. James Light conducted
a study of 79 different athletes. Almost 95 percent of the power lifters that this man surveyed said they had used anabolic steroids one, at least two different occasions in a year's time. In one calendar year they would go on at least two different cycles; 93 percent of the body builders said this. In 1983, almost 78 percent of the football players surveyed utilized anabolic steroids for at last two cycles per year. The track and field athletes surveyed were slightly lower, at 71.4 percent. All these athletes surveyed were of college age and above. In 1985, Terry Todd estimated in ~ Illustrated that 90 percent of all NFL linemen utilized anabolic steroids. I dare say that figure is much higher today. Almost all of them are using anabolic ste.oids at this time.
On the college level I tend to think they are a little more conservative, yet the figures are still quite frightening. In Division I-A football you can bet that in one year's time, at least
30 to 60 percent of your football team will utilize performance enhancing anabolic steroids. Some of these instances can be much, much higher, especially during the winter months when we are doing our heavy training. In that same period, that same one year, I would estimate more than 95 percent of all the males who qualify for the NCAA qualifying standard in the throwing events in track and
field utilize anabolic steroids. This problem is not just with football and track and field, but also with wrestling and swimming. Even basketball now has developed this problem. The problem is not limited to just men; there are also women utilizing steroids. This young lady happens to be a power lifter. This picture was taken about four years ago. The first time I saw that I thought I was having a recurring nightmare about a fullback I used to have to take on all the time. I saw this lady in person one time. I would not begin to do my warm ups until she was out of the gym, it was that embarrassing for me. Women in college athletics today are utilizing steroids, but to a much lower degree. If the problem goes unchecked, it will get much worse.
As Mr. Toner has mentioned the NCAA has tested and come up with just under three percent positi, when they tested last fall before the football bowl games. What they mainly caught were the athlete! that were using decatribolin or durabolin, the long-lasting, oil-based injectables. The drug has an extremely long half-life and stays in the system up to nine months. Sometimes if the athlete has a lot of fatty tissue on him they can last even longer than that. Let me just say this, the problem 1! quite real and it is quite expensive and we've got to take steps to curb it at this time. We will talk a little more about that later on in the presentation.
Next I want to talk to you about why our athletes are taking these drugs. This is a very complex problem and one that cannot be answered in one statement. There are several interrelated factors why our athletes would utilize anabolic steroids. The first is the will to win or, in some cases, the fear of failure. Every athlete faces a choice and that choice is use performance enhancing drugs or take a distinct competitive disadvantage. What this really means to athletes who use these drugs is this. One, you have better workouts and it decreases the fatigue. In other words, the fatigue in between workouts will be much shorter. Also, there is increased strength and size and improved athletic performance. These are quite real and they will happen. Another reason why athletes would utilize steroids is society encourages a "win at all costs" attitude. How many times have you heard someone say, "Well, I'll do whatever it takes to win under any circumstances?" Another reason athletes will take these drugs is to become a world-class competitor or a professionaJ athlete. It enhances his chances to reach these levels, or merely to look better. Don't discount this, it actually happens. How many of you saw that "20/20" report on the high school kids at Miami taking steroids, just so they could walk the beach and look better? This is a real factor why our athletes would use this. Oftentimes in our college-age athletes, their entire feeling of self-worth comes from their athletic performance. From the time they were six years old to the time they are it college, they are identified as an athlete. That has been their identity and a lot of times their only measure of self-worth. If you take that away from these athletes, it can be devastating to thej self-image. Therefore, I think the assumption that individual athletes freely choose to use anabolic steroids or not is truly a dubious one. Athletes put too much effort into getting where they are to give up a distinct competitive advantage to someone else because they are taking these drugs.
Our athletes can obtain these drugs in a variety of manners. First, they can get them from
the black market or a mail order list. At one time athletic coaches all across the country would get three to four price lists a year for anabolic steroids, whether they solicited them or not. I would get one in a blank envelope with no return address and a postmark, and forgive me anyone from there, that read New Jersey. I was always getting them from there. A few days later I would get a letter in the mail saying, I hope you enjoyed the nutritional information I sent you earlier. It would be the same handwriting, the same post mark and it would also say, "If you are interested, pIE contact John, or whoever, at such and such a number." Next, our athletes are getting them through a doctor's prescription. Very seldom does this happen, but we are getting them on occasion from a doctor's prescription. A lot of athletes that I have known like getting them through a doctor's prescription because their insurance will then pay for it. They will try to find this wherever possible. I think the M.D.s across the country have really tried to curtail this as much as possible and they are really starting to crack down now. You are not seeing that as often as you used to.
A survey of 24 strength athletes done by Burket Fuldoto in 1984 told us the following things about how our athletes are using drugs and these things were typical of all athletes. Twenty of th, 24 surveyed took two or more different kinds of drugs at one time in a cycle. This is called stacking and we will talk a little further about stacking later. The cycles usually lasted anywhe from six to ten weeks with a minimum layoff time of four weeks and most took four to eight times the regular medical dosage. The drugs of choice that our athletes are taking can be divided into orals and injectables. The orals our athletes are taking are dianabol, anavar, trinabar and winst, The last one you don't see as often, but in the winter months you are seeing more of it now, anadr, It is a very, very strong and potent drug. In my power lifting days we used to call them gorilla 1 The injectables our athletes are taking include testosterone byconate, testosterone proponate, testosterone suspecton, winsterolV,ecropoise, parapolon or phenogec and injectable ianabole.
The dosage our athletes will take can vary. The injectables can be anywhere from 70 to 800 milligrams per week and the orals anywhere from 2.5 to lOO miligrams per day. Our systems are
very finite, and I shouldn't and will not dwell on that very long, especially with Dr. Catlin here
my right. These dosages in the human body are astronomical and are extremely out of order. For
medical purposes it takes 15 milligrams of dianabol a day to completely replace the male testosterone in the body. Most athletes take more than that at the beginning of their cycles. The length of
time the athlete will stay on these cycles can be a little difficult. At the start of the cycle an athlete starts out very slow and he will peak in the middle of the cycle, to where he will take two to three weeks of 200 milligrams per week of injectables. Notice at the end how they will try to
taper off to avoid a lot of the negative effects, or the come-down effects is what they call it. The orals oftentimes will look more like a straight line. This is a rather conservative cycle the athlete might go for, but I made this to look more like an intelligent cycle. A lot of our athletes are starting with orals at 30 milligrams a day and straight lining it right across, where the more
intelligent way would be to start out slow, peak at the middle and peak off relatively slow. The
length of these cycles will vary. I have seen these athletes take these drugs anywhere from eight to 12 weeks; the typical cycle will last nine weeks.
I'm always getting the questions, "Coach, how long is our training cycle this winter?" And they are asking me this before the football season is over. Or they are asking me this before spring
practice is over, "How long is our cycle, our training cycle in the summer?" Well, they want to know this, most of them, hopefully, because they are interested in athletics they are dedicated and they
want to get better. But, I know that some of the information that I am giving them about the length of our training cycle will correlate exactly to this diagram here. If you have a training cycle of
12 weeks, oftentimes an athlete will use steroids for 12 weeks during that training period. If you have a shorter cycle of six weeks, a lot of times it will match that as well. I know with football teams around the country a favorite time to gamble with steroids is in the spring practice. When I'was
doing research on this I called several strength coach frie,nds of mine in different regions of the country and I said, "Didn't it seem like you had a lot of fights this year in spring practice?" Every one of them said, "Yes, it was abnormally high this year." You always have a lot of fights during
spring practice, but for this reason, it was much, much higher. I think it is because our athletes
are utilizing more steroids in the off-season now because they have to taper their use in the season. Another steroid cycle, and this is a favorite for freshmen or an athlete who is not competing for a
year, is called an interval cycle. It's three weeks on and three weeks off, three weeks on and three weeks off. They would repeat this for a period of time up to one year without ever really stopping. Obviously, the gains in strength and size that can be made in that one-year period are extensive and it will give them a distinct advantage when they return to competition phase.
The next thing I want to discuss with you is use of anabolic steroids under drug testing
conditions, and avoidance of detection. When I found out I was going to do this talk, I contacted some of my old power lifting buddies, some of the ones who are still in it. I got ahold of two different names of steroid suppliers. I called them and gave them, obviously, a false name. My athletic director is very understanding, but I don't want my name coming up on anybody's customer list in the future even though I did not order any. I told these people that I was a college athlete interested in taking steroids, but I was concerned about getting caught. They said, "Oh, no problem, we'll send you the book." They sent me two separate publications. One was a 15-page pamphlet and
one was an 18-page pamphlet, both with information that told us how to avoid getting caught on drug tests. They gave us a list of things to stay away from, drugs to avoid. The second thing, and one of the things they were most emphatic about, was the length of the needle. No longer can you wimp out with just one of those itty-bitty needles. You have to go with the inch and a half needle to
make sure you get it into the muscle instead of depositing any of the steroid into the fat deposit. The third thing, and they talked a great deal about this, is how to dilute your urine just prior
to testing to bring the levels down to an accepted range. They also had a list of drugs to avoid.
These are the injactable drugs to avoid and these are all oil-based drugs with a very long half-life. And there's also a list of orals to avoid. I feel like I'm up here selling you a Ronco potato peeler. But wait, there is more. You also get the drugs to be preferred, injectables and orals. But, also included in this, and this is what raelly fascinated me, were these cycles telling the athletes what they should take, how much to take, when to take it and when to get off of it to test clean for a set date. There were several of these cycles.
The next thing I want to talk about is possible solutions. We know that scare tactics will not work. In that same Terry Todd article in Sports Illustrated he interviewed more than 50 different athletes. He asked them if they could take a drug that would assure them of being a world champion but it would kill them two years after that world championship, would they still take it? Seventy percent of them said yes. Well, that scares me and I hope it scares you, but I guess it is not scaring some of our athletes. So, I don't think scare tactics are the answer. The problem is so complex it will take many, many different approaches. I have two suggestions. One is a continued educational program. I know a lot of places have gone to this. I feel that we need to educate our athletes, our coaches and our administrators on the long-and short-term effects of anabolic steroid use. Even
the parents of our athletes need to know what the effects can be and what to look for, because no one has more control over her son or daughter than someone's mother. We also have to give our athletes alternatives, such things as training tables. If you had a year-round training table with a sports
nutritionist involved, you'd give your athletes every possible chance for success with nutrition. You should also give them other dietary supplements; that can help. Oftentimes, that will be a placebo effect, but if it is keeping them away from steroids, it is a positive effect.
My last suggestion is this: random testing year-round. I know there are a lot of problems with that and I am not aware of all of those, but for my profession, for all strength coaches across the country, I implore you to do this. There is not a strength coach in America who does not feel right
now that he is on a tightrope. On one side he will fall into a bottomless pit and on the other into a pit of fire. I am not sure which one is better, so we are just hanging on. Right now strength coaches around the country are put in a tremendously tight situation when an athlete comes to them
and says, "Coach, I'm on them but I don't know what I am doing." You care for the kid but you can't tell him anything, because it's an NCAA violation. You can tell him to get off them and encourage them to do that. Then he no longer talks to you much, but that's one of the prices you pay. You encourage all your kids to get off it, but I'm not sure, after looking at some of our athletes all across the country, that what's happening. The last statement I want to say about why we should test year-round is this. I look at it plain and simple as cheating. When we have a track meet we weigh
the shot puts every meet to make sure they are standard. When we play baseball we check the baseballs. The umpires check every game to make sure bats aren't leaded. When we play football the referees call every penalty they see, not just clipping on one team and not on the other, although it seems that
way sometimes, but we call everything we see. To me, the beauty of athletics is two individuals or two teams coming together on an equal ground, totally equal, and they battle it out to see who is
best within the rules and within that confined circumstance. Testing for anabolic steroids only one time a year is not allowing for that. I don't want my son to grow up and have to make that choice.
I do not want him to have to take anabolic steroids. I think I will raise him so he will not, but I also would like to be sure that he will compete on an equal basis with all athletes across the
country. Ladies and gentlemen, I appreciate your time and your attention. Thank you very much.
Thank you very much, Mike. I'm sure there will be questions as soon as Dr. Catlin is finished. With Dr. Catlin today and going up to the back of the room with handouts for everybody is Caroline
Hemp, who is a Ph.D. chemist at UCLA and who works very closely in the laboratory with Dr. Catlin there Dr. Catlin is certainly no stranger to us from the NCAA , but for all other people, let me introduce hil He is chairman of the Committee on Substance Abuse, Research and Education for the U.S. Olympic Committe, He's a consultant for the NCAA Drug Testing Committee, the National Institute of Drug Abuse and the Sta of California Department of Alcohol and Drug Problems. He has published numerous articles about this matter and served as an editorial consultant to numerous scientific journals. He comes to us with a B. from Yale University and a master's in 1969 from the University of Rochester. He is a very informed person in drug testing and a very fine doctor at the medical school at UCLA. I am delighted to introdu Don Catlin to you. Don.
Thank you, John, and thank you for the opportunity of allowing me to talk to you about this issue. No false stats today, just the true facts. In order to learn something about the clinical use of anabolic steroids in women I attended a power lifting championship in Santa Monica a few months ago. I watched a lady, and I use that term advisedly, lift an amount of weight which was within five
percent of the men's record in her particular class. She was very masculinized and I think this is a very serious and dreadful problem that women face in this country. I'll come back to it in a minute. Modern history of anabolic steroids in sports dates to 1958, when a physician traveling with a United States weight lifting group in Romania sat and talked with a group of coaches and discovered the use
of a drug called testosterone which was being used by the Russian weight lift~ng team. He came home, he talked to some people in the pharmaceutical industry about andeval, an oral agent, and he actually conducted some tests in 1959, thinking perhaps these drugs would really be useful for American men. He quickly discovered and thought about all these issues and stopped his study, but the cat was out
of the bag and that was really the introduction of anabolic steroids, at least as far as I can trace it within this country.
The IOC got busy with the whole issue of drugs in sports in 1967 when they created a commission to set up testing programs. They were unable to test for steroids until 1976 because of serious technical problems with the assays. In 1976, in Montreal there was some testing for anabolic
steroids for the first time and they caught eight people. They were able to do something like 240 tests. By 1984, when we did the testing for Mr. Ueberroth, we tested all 1,600 athletes' urine that was submitted to us for anabolic steroids. The IOC made the original list of banned substances, and it has been expanded over the years. The NCAA, the USOC and others followed. I am going to be
talking about only anabolic steriods this morning, but I do wish to poi~t out that the only difference between the national list and the NCAA list is the category of street drugs. This really narrows down
to only THC, or marijuana, which'does appear on the NCAA list but does not appear on the rOC list. There are differences in sanctions for marijuana.
But it is the anabolic steroids that are rumored to shift your physique; you remember the Charles Atlas ads. This individual is a body builder and it is rumored, although you cannot tell from this picture at all, that this group uses anabolic steroids. This is Jeffrey Michaels in Time magazine
after the Caracas mess in 1983. He is a weight lifter and does not care about the shape-of his body. All he cares about is the ability to lift those weights. This man, the body builder, certain poses
and is rewarded with medals and cash depending on his ability to show each muscle group, etc. I have heard lots of people tell me we don't need testing because you can look at somebody and tell if they are on anabolic steroids, but that's not true. Masculinization in this man is certainly a moot
point. I don't see any evidence of fat tissue. You can't tell his beard is any heavier, you can't
tell that he has hypertension, he has no swelling of the extremeties, etc. You can only have a concern about this man's health and anabolic steroids because he is in a sport where there's a high risk to take anabolic steroids and the drugs may have an effect which give him the added margin. On the
other hand, in this particular sport, also a high risk sport, the reward is only being able to lift very large amounts. This man is strong, the other man really isn't strong. Clinically, they are extremely different.
I'm going to tell you about a young man that was referred to me by an endocrinologist not far from here. This is a 35-year old person. He went to see his doctor and complained of decreased
libido. He was weak, he thought his testicles were getting smaller, he said he wasn't taking any
drugs and he wondered if maybe he needed some testosterone to pep him up. He was quite a quiet boy, he didn't say much more. He was thin, he wasn't muscular, he wasn't one of these big, strong bozo-like people. The exam was really rather unremarkable. His testicles were not small, his skin was normal
and voice was normal, but his laboratory findings were all messed up. His plasma testosterone was very low, his sperm count was low and his pituitary did not respond to the usual challenges. The diagnosis in this case would by hypogonadism, some sort of failure of the pituitary testicular axis, and the treatment would be testosterone or another anabolic steroid for a while. It was only after additional thought and consideration that we saw this young man after all was taking drugs. After the affair in Caracas, he wanted to get strong. He was weak and puny. He took, he said, just one single dose of that deco derovolan, a long-acting anabolic steroid, and four months later he was this picture of pituitary testicular failure.
I want to leave you today with a little understanding of the physiology of how these problems arise. Why is it that a great, big, strapping young man on anabolic steroids can develop breast
tissue and not be able to produce sperm? The endrocine system is affected by anabolic steroids. It consists of the brain, the hypothalmus, the pituitary gland and the testes. It is a finely-balanced and tuned system. The brain sends a message to the pituitary to release LH and FSH, lutenizing
hormone and follicle stimulating hormone. These two chemicals travel in the blood to the testes,
where they stimulate the conversion of cholesterol to restosterone, which is a normal male hormone.
All males,and females for that matter, have testosterone, which is released back into the blood stream and it circles back to the brain and pituitary and sends a message about how much of it is circulating. If the brain detects a lot of testosterone, it shuts off the production of LH and FSH, kind of like
a seesaw feedback system. High blood levels of testosterone. This testosterone does several things. It circulates throughout the body and it maintains the male as a male; his voice, the oiliness of his skin, his hair, testicular tissues, and so forth. The testosterone is also, togeth~r with FSH, which is responsible for sperm production. What goes wrong when an athlete takes anabolic steroids? What
their body then sees is the huge amount of testosterone or its equivalent, the steroids. The signal goes back to the pituitary and the brain to stop making this material, so their levels fail. Even though there is a large amount of anabolic steroid circulating, because there is very little FSH the tubulars here in the testes are not able to make sperm. The sperm production goes down and eventually it shuts off completely if the person takes too much over too long a period of time. In addition, some of the excess steroid is converted to an estrogen chemically within the body. The estrogen promotes the growth of breast tissue. So what you have now is a male with small testicles,
not making sperm, who is developing breast tissue. Again, however, you cannot tell from just looking at somebody or measuring their weight over a few months if they're taking steroids.