Moore, Patel discuss dangers of steroids
Oct. 8, 2013 - As head strength and conditioning coach, Brijesh Patel is well aware of the signs of steroid use such an increase in acne and muscle mass.
"If you look at a smaller-framed individual and they've added a lot of mass within a summer or really quickly that's usually a red flag that something is going on," Patel said. "My (offseason) program is good, but it's not that good."
Fortunately, steroid use is not something Patel has had to deal with during his years around athletes at Quinnipiac, Holy Cross College and the University of Connecticut.
"Either we did something really well on the education side of things or we just really didn't have kids who may be invested to the nth degree where it is a by-any-means-possible-type scenario."
That education continued Oct. 8 as Patel and men's basketball coach Tom Moore discussed the dangers of steroid use during a Campus Cross Talk session at the Clarice L. Buckman Theater. Patel and Moore outlined the history and side effects of steroids, which are banned by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, as well as the perils of abusing performance-enhancing drugs.
About 100 students, many of them athletes, attended the presentation. The event was part of the University's Campus Cross Talk Series, a yearlong array of events that engage students and faculty in discussions on topics related to a central theme. The current theme is health literacy. Past Campus Cross Talks focused on bioethics and social revolution. Events can include teach-ins, book reviews, film analysis, panel discussions and guest speakers.
Kimberly Hartmann, interim dean of the School of Health Sciences, said the Campus Cross Talks allow students to interact with speakers on controversial topics that influence today's young adults.
"The committee wanted to have a dialogue about steroids and their impact on life and athletes," she said. "Who better to do that than our coaches?"
Like Patel, Moore said steroids have not been a problem with his basketball teams at Quinnipiac and the University of Connecticut.
"I don't think it's prevalent in our sport," said Moore, who pointed to the long-range risks of steroids in terms of quality of life. "Where does the abuse stop? It's (rationalizing), 'I want to play Division I,' 'I want to make the pros,' 'I want to make the Hall of Fame.' It's going to end at some point. Now your quality of life kicks in. Alex Rodriguez, Manny Ramirez, Barry Bonds - they've got wealth, they've got fame, but from here on out they'll be pariahs in terms of what people think of them. They're almost poster children for cheating. That's a hell of a scarlet letter that you have to wear from age 36 to 90."
Patel added that education is the key to fixing the steroid problem in athletics. He said factors such as diet, sleep and technique all play an important role in adding strength naturally.
"It's not easy," he said. "For some of our guys, it may take them a good four, five six months before they start making really good progress. Once they do, they're all over it and they'll start listening more and they'll start taking care of their bodies more."