One of the ways
the old no-free-lunch lesson was learned by athletes who began to use
testosterone was that as a group they began to suffer a great many more muscle
and tendon injuries. Before its widespread use such injuries were rare among
strength athletes, whereas now they are alarmingly frequent. Among lifters the
two areas that tend to rupture are the biceps tendon and the quadriceps, the
muscle on the front of the thigh. Since the widespread use of testosterone
began, scores of men have either had the unpleasant experience of watching
their biceps muscle roll up their arm like a windowshade after the tendon, at
the point of its insertion into the bone of the forearm, gave way, or of
collapsing to the platform after one or both of their quadriceps or patellar
tendons ruptured. But although the increase in these injuries is not a matter
of dispute, the reason, or reasons, for that increase aren't completely
Some weight men
argue that the injuries can all be attributed to the heavier poundages being
lifted now. Others contend that because of the increased testosterone level
something biochemical must happen to the muscle or tendon that makes it more
brittle and likely to tear. Still others, and I lean toward their view, suggest
that it can be explained by the aggressiveness produced by the testosterone,
aggressiveness that causes the lifters to train hard when they should take it
easy. This argument holds that the body normally tells an athlete when to back
off, but the testosterone imperative to train hard and dominate the weights
overrides these messages, with the result being injury.
Nor have the
difficulties apparently stemming from the use of testosterone been only
physical. The following matched pair of interviews were done at separate times,
and the second interviewee hadn't seen the other's remarks. The subjects were
at one time husband and wife. The man is nearing the end of a long career in
Wife: He's so
impatient when he's on the steroids, so easily annoyed. He becomes vocal and
hostile real fast, and he was never that way before.
definitely makes a person mean and aggressive. And I was always so easygoing.
On the field I've tried to hurt people in ways I never did before, especially
if someone cheap-shots me. When they do I go for a death blow.
Wife: His sexual
habits really changed. On the testosterone he not only wanted to have sex more
often, he also was much rougher. And his sleep patterns were completely
different on the testosterone. The Dianabol changed him some, but on the
testosterone he was always ready to start the day by five-thirty or six, no
matter how late he'd turned in. In the old days he'd sleep till noon.
Husband: One of
the bad things about the testosterone is that you never get much sleep. It just
drives you so. With amphetamines the effect wears off after a game, but with
testosterone it's almost as if you're on speed all the time.
Wife: I don't
think he'll ever be able to give it up. It cost him a wife who loved him and
the chance to watch his two children grow up. There've been times' when I felt
he was almost suicidal. Sometimes, late at night, he'd tell me that he just
couldn't help himself and that he couldn't stop using it because of the
football, and then he'd cry.
Husband: I doubt
if the NFL will ever try to stop it. The rule against it is just ignored now.
But I've always told the doctors I was on testosterone, and nobody paid any
Wife: The physical
changes have been phenomenal. His skin has aged so fast, especially in the
face—it's so much coarser now. And he lost his hair on top, right .when he went
on the steroids real heavy. But where in the past he didn't have much hair on
his body, now his chest and back are covered, and the color of his genitals got
darker. It was incredible.