In the sporting world, there are very strict guidelines as to what what will and will not be permitted in terms of boosting a participant’s performance, and most sports also have a zero tolerance attitude when referring to recreational drugs (other than legal drugs such as alcohol).
Many people would probably agree that individuals who attempt to cheat by ingesting drugs should be banned from taking part in their sport and quite properly so, but look a little more deeply and sometimes there are doubts to be raised about precisely where the line is between right and wrong.
One aspect to think about is the health position of the individual. Although ingesting steroids over a few months to boost up the body and increase stamina is universally disapproved of, think about the asthma sufferer who uses a steroid inhaler to control attacks. Those steroids are still making a difference to that sportsperson’s performance, albeit that they are enabling them to carry on taking part rather than trying to obtain an unfair advantage. A small minority of people would claim that an asthma sufferer should lose the option to enjoy their preferred sport, but a few would claim that in both cases, drugs are being employed to enhance performance.
In the same way, those who rely heavily on having outstanding vision to be the best at their sport of preference – for example, golfers – can have Laser eye surgery if they would regularly need to rely on glasses to participate, but they can also request Laser eye treatment to fine tune their vision even if they are not diagnosed at a standard eye test as requiring corrective glasses or lenses. Surely there has to be an argument as to whether having Laser eye surgery to alter vision which is not medically defective is similar to taking drugs to increase performance? And yet there is no suggestion by any sporting committee to ban Laser eye treatment or insist that those who decide to have such an operation should register the fact.
As is easy to see, something that looks to be quite a clear case of right and wrong rapidly becomes a much more perplexing situation if these questions are raised. Ultimately, it is a case of what the difference is between giving assistance to reduce the symptoms of a recognised health problem and permitting enhancements to areas of the body which, at that point in time, are not medically viewed as being defective.
Tags: Health and Fitness