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Survey: Youth Athletes Feel Pressured by Steroid Use in Pro Sports

More than three-fourths of young U.S. males feel that performance-enhancing-drug use in professional sports puts pressure on young athletes to use steroids, according to two new surveys conducted by the Digital Citizens Alliance.

The two surveys, which were conducted online July 19-22, asked high school- and college-age males about their perceptions of steroid use in professional sports. One survey gauged the opinions of 350 U.S. males between the ages of 18 and 25, and the other included 352 males between the ages of 14 and 25.

In both surveys, roughly 77 percent of the young males said that steroid use by professional athletes has a trickle-down effect to youth sports, giving youth athletes the impression that they also must use steroids to get ahead. Only 13.1 percent of the males ages 18-25 and 11.5 percent of the males ages 14-25 said that they didn't feel pressured by professional athletes' use of steroids.

Likewise, over 40 percent of the males in both age groups said that the use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs) in major sports suggested that taking such drugs was either the only way to make it in professional sports or is critical to enhancing one's athletic performance. An additional 15.9 percent of the males ages 18-25 said that major-sports PED use sent the message that "taking PEDs enhances your athletic performance somewhat but not in a significant way."

Whether those pressures are translating to actual steroid use remains to be seen. A survey of more than 1,000 adults released earlier this year by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum found that fewer than one in five of them believe steroid use to be a major problem.

However, a former employee of the Miami-area clinic at the heart of Major League Baseball's steroid scandal told ESPN.com and the Miami Herald on July 26 that high school student-athletes were among the clinic's clients.

According to ESPN.com's Outside the Lines, the names of 10 Miami-area high school baseball players appeared in documents from the Biogenesis of America clinic, with dollar amounts next to their names.

The full results of the Digital Citizens Alliance survey will be released later this summer. Below, I've pasted the full answers to the two questions referenced here.


What message do you think PEDs in major sports sends to youth athletes?
18.9 percent of males 14-25 say taking PEDs is the only way to make it in professional sports.
19.2 percent of males 18-25 say taking PEDs is the only way to make it in professional sports.

22.7 percent of males 14-25 say taking PEDs is critical to enhancing one's athletic performance.
24.3 percent of males 18-25 say taking PEDs is critical to enhancing one's athletic performance.

Do you think performance enhancing drug use in professional sports puts pressure on young athletes to use drugs to get ahead?
77.5 percent of males 14-25 say yes, 11.5 percent say no, and 11 percent say not sure.
77.4 percent of males 18-25 say yes, 13.1 percent say no, and 9.5 percent say not sure.


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