ATHLETES HAVE BETTER LONG-TERM HEALTH AND DO NOT DISPLAY THE "EVIL HEALTH RISKS" OF USING BANNED DRUGS
Kujala, U. M., Marti, P., Kaprio, J., Hernelahti, M., Tikkanen, H.,& Sarna, S. (2003). Occurrence of chronic disease in former top-level athletes. Predominance of benefits, risks, or selection effects? Sports Medicine, 33, 553-561.
"Former elite athletes from most sports disciplines have lower overall morbidity risk and enjoy better self-rated health in later years compared with the general population and matched controls who were healthy at young age. This is seen particularly among former endurance athletes who have a lower incidence of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Most often data are available only for men. Based on the available data, participation in elite sports cannot be regarded as an overall health hazard. However, aside from a high risk of acute injury in specific sports, possible negative effects of long-standing athletic activity on the development of osteoarthritis should not be neglected. It should also be remembered that elite athletes are a biologically and genetically select group who are not representative of the population at large. Given the nature of the available data, the possible health consequences of recent changes in different characteristics of sports, such as training practices, professionalism, and use of doping, cannot be properly predicted".
Implication. This review indicates the unusual nature of elite athletes, which renders them worthy of different considerations to the general population. The elite-athlete group as a whole does not display any epidemic of bad health due to the use of banned drugs, most probably because so few use such substances in doses that could provoke a threat-reaction to well-being.
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