Recently, The Tour De France bicycle race was in the headlines because
Floyd Landis apparently broke the rules by using blood doping to enhance
Last weekend, I was interviewed by the Canadian Broadcasting Company,
because they wanted my thoughts and opinions on the blood doping. The other
expert, a British professor, was in favor of blood doping under some circumstances.
Where the dangers of blood doping are concerned, I pointed out the following
1. Research on doping indicates that it can harm the immune system,
cause infections, serious clots and death.
2. I have had several patients who were involved with doping and steroids
and they present like addicts. They believe they can not perform or cope
without using these substances. We don’t need more addicts in sports
or in society at large.
3. We have enough instances of cheating in sports, in politics and in business.
We don’t need another way for people to bend or break the rules.
4. The beauty of sport is you have athletes working hard and competing against
one another. The winner in these contests should be the athlete with the most
skill and with the best performance-not the athlete with the most
devious pharmacist or transfusionist.
5. Allowing doping will set a terrible example for young athletes.
6. For the weekend warrior, how would you feel if your regular tennis partner
who you play pretty evenly with all the time starts dominating you because
he or she decides to start doping? This behavior will ruin the camaraderie
and joy that you have developed and shared over the years.
With regard to the solution to the doping problem, I suggested these ideas:
1. Strict penalties for coaches, athletes, trainers, manufacturers, distributors and
league officials need to be implemented and enforced. Fines, prison terms and
lifetime bans should be a part of a conviction for a second offense.
2. We need to continue to develop cutting edge science and technology to detect
sports personnel involved with this form of cheating.
3. Educational campaigns and advertising campaigns educating the sports world
about the dangers of these substances need to be developed and implemented
in the mass media, sports journals and educational institutions.
4. Increased research into physical and psychological dangers of this practice
needs to be conducted by top scientists, physiologists and psychologists.
5. Treatment programs modeled after addiction programs for athletes who
are abusing steroids or who are engaged in doping need to be developed.
6. A widespread effort to restore and maintain integrity, honesty and decency in
in sports, politics, business and society needs to be undertaken. This will have
to be a multidisciplinary effort by educators, politicians, sociologists and clergy.
7. Athletes need more psychological training and coaching so they learn how
to manage pressure more effectively, compete more effectively and better
understand how they can use their minds and their internal spirit and
fortitude to perform to their fullest potential.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist in River Edge, New Jersey. He is the Founder
of www.StayInTheZone.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
or at 888 580-ZONE.