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Drugs & Health Blog

What Happened to Mark?

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Image Courtesy of DeusXFlorida

Sara Bellum

The news story said Mark McGwire's voice "cracked with emotion" when he finally admitted to the world he had used steroids for 10 years, including the season he broke the home run record, hitting 70 slammers in 1998. He is probably not just embarrassed by this, but also concerned about his health, since steroids can cause problems even after you go off them.

There are sometimes medical uses for steroids, such as to help people with cancer or AIDS build up lost muscle mass. But many people-especially those who want to improve their athletic performance-abuse anabolic steroids to "bulk up," typically taking higher doses than people who take them for medical reasons. Steroid abuse among athletes, especially baseball players, has become such a problem that a few years ago the U.S. Congress held a special investigation. Now, major league baseball executives are working to "clean it up," which Mr. McGwire now says is a good thing.

"I wish I had never touched steroids…It was foolish and it was a mistake. I truly apologize. Looking back, I wish I had never played during the steroid era." —Mark McGwire

Taking steroids is not a good bargain. Because even though they might make you stronger in the short-run, the price you pay can be much too high. So what can happen? Here's just a short list of the possible side effects:

  • Stunt your growth and cause bad acne.
  • Cause vicious mood swings (ever heard of "'roid rage"?)
  • For guys, abusing steroids can lead to shrinking of the testicles, reduced sperm count, infertility, baldness, development of breasts.
  • For girls, abusing steroids lead to growth of facial hair, male-pattern baldness, changes in or cessation of the menstrual cycle, and a permanently deepened voice.

The good news is that steroid use is not a huge problem among teens—as many teens have a healthy game plan. Still, somewhere between 1-2% of high schoolers, many being athletes, have tried them, mostly to enhance sports performance. Did you know that NIDA has a Web section on steroids with information just for teens? Check out Drug Facts - Anabolic Steroids. Also take a look at this YouTube video starring one of our scientists here at NIDA. Mark McGwire has done a lot of good things with his life since leaving baseball. He has a foundation that helps abused children, and he works with the National Kidney Foundation. We will have to wait and see how things turn out for him, as people debate how to handle the many awards he has won over the years and his possible selection into the Baseball Hall of Fame. But scientists at NIDA will be looking at something more important: what are the long-lasting health effects of so much steroid use, and what is the best way to prevent people from abusing steroids in the first place? What do you think?

Comments posted to the Drugs & Health Blog are from the general public and may contain inaccurate information. They do not represent the views of NIDA or any other federal government entity.


you so should not use steroids that is so sick for what it can do to a girl!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

that is supper bad for guys that would so stink for all that to happen to me.

He cheated...and he thinks he should get into the hall of fame...HAH!

he should go in the hall of fame whos with me ya!!!!!!!


I think taking steroids and perform well is illegal way to get succeed in sports. If you really love your play than don't use kind of drugs.

I think he should go in the hall of fame!! haha

hi lucky what do you think of this paragraph what happened to mark?

im with ya wahoo

@Wahoo--why should he go to the hall of fame if he was on steroids. its almost like if bringing a knife to a gun fight in away of speking.@all--skip is right it has harmful effect on girls and sometimes on men.@wahoo-- you should get the phone num of happened and talk with him cause it sounds like he had some history on this.

is he still playing in the major leages or is he out and cant come back for using them

@Wahoo--Actually McGwire is retired from baseball, so he won't be going back. He likely won't make it into the Hall of Fame either, since he's been eligible for the past 3 years, but has received well below the number of votes needed to make it in.

whats the good thing that there saying he said

@NIDAwriter-you are very right i just looked and it was the same .

MAN DUDE THAT REALLY SUCKS I FEEL BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I love what youve got to say and the way you say it.

Thanks for sharing Such a nice information with us.I really like your Information and want To read more.

I have always had my own views on steroids when I was growing up, but now with my grown up kids going through the grind I have the internet and its abundance of solutions. There's alot of good information out there that have a neat range of simple reviews for the curious researcher

There are also links between steroid abuse and baldness in men.

I was saddened when I learned what Mr. McGwire has done for the past years. I was a fan of him but to no avail he has to be under the rule. After all its his health were at stake even after going off to it. a comment from his fan: [commercial link removed, per guidelines]

well that stinks for him, but it WAS his own fault. He should have thought about the consequences before swallowing the pill. its sad when someone with real talent cant get onto a good team and a steriod user takes their place...and the consequicences!!! would you rather be all bulky and muscley and have BOOBS???