Teens, amateurs using steroids, says official

Thu Mar 24, 2016 4:56am EDT
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By Philip O'Connor

(Reuters) - The recent wave of positive tests has thrust sports doping back in the headlines but it is not just athletes seeking to enhance performance who are taking banned substances, a Norwegian anti-doping official has told Reuters.

Morten Heierdal of Anti-Doping Norway said ahead of a lecture to youngsters about the dangers of doping that teenagers are taking steroids and other substances just to look and feel better.

Heierdal has personal experience of the subject -- a promising soccer goalkeeper, he started taking steroids to cope with the physical demands of the switch from the junior to senior ranks, which led to a 10-year period of abuse.

"I started injecting rather than taking pills," the 35-year-old said matter-of-factly in a telephone interview. "I was told by a guy at the gym that taking pills was more damaging for the liver, so I began injecting.

"In the beginning it was great. I got stronger and girls started to notice me."

It did not take long, however, before the positive effects were eclipsed by the negative and he became arrogant and aggressive.

Soccer quickly fell by the wayside and the aggression led to a violent confrontation with a doorman at an Oslo nightclub, which accelerated his descent as he began misusing other drugs.

It was only when he found himself preparing a line of cocaine at work one day that he came to his senses and began to seek help.   Continued...

Participants talk before the start of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Symposium for Anti-Doping Organizations in Lausanne, Switzerland, in this March 24, 2015 file photo. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse/Files