Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My kid's perspective of steroids

I did not fully realize what impact all this steroid use among some of the top athletes would have on children until the other day when my youngest son had to go to a hospital emergency room because of a respiratory ailment.

The shock of the day was not that we suddenly learned that our health insurance had been terminated without warning or our knowledge but that my 11-year-old son is really scared of steroids. An ER doctor prescribed Prednisone for my son and explained that the drug is technically a “steroid.”

My son freaked out. For the longest time he was a Manny Ramirez fan. He wore a Red Sox T-shirt with Manny’s name and No. 24 on the back. He owned a Manny Ramirez dreadlock wig. He once dressed up as Manny for Halloween.

But with Manny in the news of late, along with Alex Rodriguez and Roger Clemens, all linked to steroid use, my son’s initial reaction to a doctor’s Prednisone prescription for him was, well, quite frightening.

“I thought I was going to die,” my son said.

Of course, the doctor explained the purpose of the medication and the benefits that it would bring and that death was not a side effect but my son’s first response was telling. It appears that my children – all children – may be getting the message that steroids are bad for you and could have serious consequences beyond being suspended or having unflattering books written about you.

That’s comforting to know. It has long been believed that steroid use among professional athletes has trickled down to our kids, who idolize these athletes and see it as a way to go to get bigger, faster, better. My son – and I’m sure many other sons and daughters at a young age – are absorbing information they see and read and hear and arriving at the conclusion that steroids are paramount to running into a busy street after a bouncing ball. It could kill you.

They know better.   


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