Constantly Striving For More
If you’re a professional sportsman or woman you live your life almost in a constant bubble. There is the constant pressure to perform at your best day in and day out. As well as the pressures of remaining top of your game when you’re “at work” so to speak, there are also the added pressures of living your life in the public eye. One can only imagine the mental strain applied when you’re giving interviews and have to give the corporate, conditioned answer that will give a great soundbite and look wonderful in print. Although he has never been linked with substance misuse, an athlete such as Tiger Woods would be a perfect example of this.
Breaking It All Down
If the man on the street has a bad day at work, he may go for a drink afterwards. He may even indulge in recreational drugs from time to time. In this respect, many athletes are no different, and can also fall into this trap. Where athletes differ however, is that most of the time the common man isn’t subjected to random drug testing and are therefore unlikely to be discovered to have taken the drug.
Thus the problem becomes two-fold. Not only is there the significant risk of the athlete becoming addicted to harmful substances, there is also the likelihood that sooner or later, they will get caught by a drugs test, labelled a drug user and be stigmatised for the rest of their career. In recent years the careers of footballers such as Adrian Mutu and Mark Bosnich never really recovered from testing positive for cocaine.
On a positive note however, other notable footballers, such as Tony Adams and Paul Merson, underwent harm reduction programs and were able to come out with a better outcome. Adams even opened his own clinic, “Sporting Chance”, to help other professional sportsmen and women cope with their addictions.
Sports Taking Positive Action
These examples aside there have been many examples of professional sportsmen and women from around the world who have ruined their careers and indeed their lives through drug use. Most sports now have harm reduction programs in place in order to identify those who are potentially misusing substances so help can be given at an early stage. This applies to both recreational as well as performance enhancing drugs. Even WWE, derided by many for being “fake”, has a wellness policy in place in order to protect its performers from the effects of drug use.
Whatever your opinion on what WWE does, they must be given huge credit for taking action following tragic events and deaths in the industry linked to substance misuse.
For helpful resources about harm reduction, visist Innovation with Substance.