Saturday, December 20, 2008

Doping & ?

There's been a lot of talk about dope the last few decades, both in the moral failure aspect of recreational drugs and the moral rejection aspect of performance enhancement. I don't care about fun drugs. Smoke 'em if ya got 'em. But the use of pharmaceutical performance enhancements in many arenas is something that can't be ignored, if for no other reason than it's not being ignored. Dope in race horses, olympic runners, bike racers, football and baseball players, etc. make big headlines, generate legal action and shrivel up the flow of corporate promotions dollars. I don't know where the line is drawn or where it should be drawn. Aspirin O.K.? Human growth hormone not? It really requires the wisdom of Solomon. But, if you think about it, there's a further issue in the scientific alliance of sport and medicine. Surgical procedures.

Some Minnesota Twins players have recently undergone eye surgery in order to improve their hitting prowess. Thoroughbred race horse are routinely operated on to straighten their legs as adolecents and later after suffering injuries. Baseball pitchers undergo the movement of various ligaments and tendons from one part of their body to the other, as in the famous "Tommy John" surgery that rebuilt its namesake's arm to a capability that may have been better than the original. Is this "right"?

If it's wrong to receive some of your own blood that's been stored for awhile, or pop some kind of an amphetamine, how is it right to have a surgeon put all manner of pins and plates in your skeleton? To rewire nerves and reroute blood vessels? And still compete with surgery-free opponents? This question will be coming up pretty soon.

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