Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah as to his doping charges on an interviewed aired January 17 & 18 (see link at the bottom of this blog post). Doping has been common since the origin of the Olympics (we are talking B.C. here, folks!) when athletes drank a special juice to increase performance and endurance. The current word comes from “doop” — of Dutch origin, meaning “thick dipping sauce” — and has been used in reference to use of drugs since the late 1800’s.
Doping is now becoming an epidemic not just among athletes, but also among others as youth and the hip hop culture strive to “look good.”
Was it legal or moral for the Olympians? I don’t know, but it could place us, as PTs and trainers, in a difficult position. We all know that if we see abuse — be it elder, pediatric, or sexual abuse — we are required, in most states, to report it. But, what about PED (performance enhancing drugs) use?
As a clinician, I’ve seen professional, Olympic and high school athletes who have utilized PEDs. And I’m not certain what my responsibility is — or even IF I have a responsibility. So I could use a little help here.
What do YOU think, both as a citizen of the world and a healthcare professional? Do you know the side effects and the long term effects? Do you know what drugs are used? If you thought your patient was using PEDs, would you do anything to educate him/her? Do you feel an ethical responsibility for reporting suspected use? What would YOU have done had you been Lance Armstrong’s physical therapist or trainer, and suspected?
Let’s see what we all think as we now go into an OPEN FORUM. I’ve posed the questions above because I’m really interested in what you know and what you think. I look forward to your responses. Thanks in advance for chiming in!
Marilyn Pink, PT, Ph.D.
P.S. For a clip of the interview with Lance Armstrong, click here. We also have a series of great research papers that deal with this topic — Check them out and download them for free from our library!