The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


June 26, 2007

Wrestling with the scourge of steroids

Professional wrestling is fake.

The anger, the violence, the rivalries, the betrayals, all are carefully scripted.

The athletic ability of the wrestlers, however, is very real. These huge men must be highly skilled athletes to avoid being seriously hurt as they crash and thrash around the ring.

The wrestlers’ muscles likewise are real, though they may be artificially inflated through the use of anabolic steroids, since professional wrestling has not banned the use of those drugs causing so much controversy in legitimate sports.

The problems caused by steroids also are very real, including so-called “roid rage,” fits of anger apparently triggered by use of these body-altering substances.

Chris Benoit, a star in the WWE, was found dead Monday in his Atlanta home, along with his wife and 7-year-old son.

Police now say Benoit strangled his wife and child before hanging himself.

Whether Benoit had steroids in his system at the time of the killings will not be known until blood toxicology reports become available, but prescription anabolic steroids were found in the wrestler’s home.

If Benoit did have steroids in his system at the time of the double murder-suicide, he will join the ranks of several other professional wrestlers whose deaths have been linked to steroids, like Davey Boy Smith, Ravishing Rick Rude and Curt Henning.

Many young people are attracted to the glitz, the pageantry and the athleticism of professional wrestling. It is time for the industry to ban steroids, and to test its athletes for the substance, as well as to launch a campaign against their use by its young fans.

Professional wrestling needs to acknowledge that steroids can, and have, killed many of its former stars. In the case of Chris Benoit, these drugs might just have helped end a pair of innocent lives, as well.

Mullin is the News & Eagle senior writer.

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