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   Mon, July 2, 2007


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Steroid ills don't deter
Some wrestlers ignore drawbacks
By SHANNON VANRAES - Sun Media
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Rage, mania, impotence, sterility, heart complications and other potential consequences aren't enough to deter some professional wrestlers and others looking for the perfect body through anabolic steroids.

"Everyone in the business knows that some people in the business take steroids," said Andrew Shallcross, director of operations for Winnipeg-based Premier Championship Wrestling, adding he believes only a small percentage of local wrestlers use steroids.

For Steve, a 21-year-old man who declined to use his real name, the benefits of steroid use outweighed the drawbacks, at least for a while.

"It's kind of a lifestyle thing; genetics will only take you so far," he said. "It's just something I do for myself. I'm not trying to impress anyone."

Steve isn't a wrestler but has been working out since he was in his early teens, and it shows. He took two cycles of steroids about a year ago after what he called extensive research, and also made his doctor aware of what he was doing.

However, it was Steve's girlfriend who convinced him to go off steroids. "The performance wasn't quite there," he said, referring to sexual side-effects.

Steve said he didn't experience any negative psychological effects like those linked to wrestler Chris Benoit.

'ROID RAGE'

The WWE star recently strangled his wife and smothered his son before hanging himself with weightlifting equipment. Anabolic steroids were found in the Benoit home, leading some to speculate he may have been experiencing "roid rage."

Shallcross has never seen a case of roid rage in a wrestler, but has seen aggressive behaviour in other people taking performance-enhancing drugs, including bouncers.

Artificially manufactured, anabolic steroids are a derivative of the male hormone testosterone. They can be taken orally or injected.

"Most of the young kids that are doing these drugs want that instant gratification," said Tom Heffner, president of the Manitoba Amateur Body Building Association.

Heffner has never taken steroids but estimates the cost of one cycle, about a month's supply, at $1,100 to $1,500.

According to an Addictions Foundation of Manitoba representative, there is a link between crime and steroid use due to aggression and the need for cash.

Sheri Fandrey, AFM prevention and education consultant, emphasized people's physical and emotional reactions to steroids are complex, and depend on the individual using the drug.

"Roid rage is one of the less common effects of steroids, but it happens," said Fandrey.

Men taking the drugs may also experience a shrinking of the testicles, breast development and baldness. Meanwhile, women are prone to male pattern baldness and other male characteristics.

Steroids may also prevent a person from reaching their full height if taken in adolescence.

RELATED LINKS

  • Chris Benoit tragedy news section
  • Chris Benoit biography and story archive