Painkillers Used by Athletes to Boost Performance

July 17, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. doping (adj.) 
[doh-ping] – relates to the use of illegal drugs to improve athletic performance
Example: Reports say the athlete won the tournament because he used a doping substance.

2. sensation (n.) [sen-sey-shuhn] – a physical sense or feeling
Example: He felt a painful sensation in his legs after running the marathon.

3. abuse (n.) [uh-byoos] – the improper, incorrect or overuse of something
Example: Some medicines are regulated by the authorities to prevent drug abuse.

4. dose (n.) [dohs] – a specified amount of medicine that a person needs to take
Example: He takes a dose of his medicine after every meal.

5. prescription (n.) [pri-skrip-shuhn] – a written order from a doctor that contains instructions of what medicine to take and how to take it
Example: The doctor gave the patient a prescription after the check-up.

Read the text below.

Dr. Hans Geyer, the deputy director of the World Anti-Doping Laboratory in Cologne, Germany says painkillers can be considered as doping substances that help athletes improve performance.

Geyer says painkillers meet all the requirements of a doping substance since it can turn off pain sensations, which are natural protective mechanisms of the body. The reduced pain helps athletes continue hard training and perform better.

Geyer has observed doping control forms and urine samples for a decade and has learned that many athletes use painkillers in and out of competition. He has also said that the abuse of this kind of medication is very widespread.

According to a handball player whom Geyer spoke to, fifty percent of the champions in a handball competition took the painkiller called “diclofenac.” Andreas Erm, a bronze medalist in the 2003 World Athletics Championship in Paris, also received several doses of painkillers during the 50-km walking marathon.

Dr. Geyer said there is nothing wrong with taking painkillers during a competition, but he is worried about the heavy use of these medications even during training.

While painkillers can boost athletic performance, they also leave damaging effects on body tissues and bones.

Regulating athletes’ use of painkillers would be impossible. Unlike illegal doping substances, painkillers are readily available on the market.

In addition, some painkillers which are available only through prescription can still be given upon an athlete’s special request.

Therefore, Geyer believes medical professionals have the responsibility to discuss with athletes how painkillers can cause long-term negative effects on the body.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think athletes really need doping substances such as painkillers in order to perform very well? Why or why not?
·         Would you consider taking painkillers in sports a form of cheating? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Do you think athletes will still use doping substances even if they become aware of the health risks? Why or why not?
·         How do you think athletes can be encouraged to prioritize their health and well-being?


July 17, 2012