Jan 29, 2015First-Hand Experience
While the topic of performance-enhancing drugs in college sports is brought up occasionally, not many people will speak as frankly as University of Cincinnati Director of Sports Medicine Angelo Colosimo, MD. That might be because Colosimo has a unique relationship with steroids: he’s an admitted former user.
Recently, Colosimo spoke with The News Record in a Q&A about the culture of performance enhancing drugs in college, the difficulties in combating the steroid era, and his own personal experiences.
Colosimo, who was an academic All-American tailback at Colgate University in the late 1970s and early 1980s, said that he first experimented with steroids during the summer between his junior and senior seasons, in response to a challenging upcoming schedule. “We were playing some pretty big teams like Penn State and Syracuse in the same year,” he told The News Record. “All of those guys were taking steroids. They’d tell us they were taking steroids and they were all blown up.”
According to Colosimo, steroid use was relatively common when he was competing. “Probably 20 percent of the kids in our locker room [at Colgate] were using them at some point,” he said in the interview. “Some of the bigger schools were probably a lot higher than that.”
Asked how widespread usage among college athletes is today, Colosimo estimated it was, “Probably more now than it was back then,” though he couldn’t say that with “absolute certainty.” He added, however, that it remains as easy to acquire steroids now as it was in his day, saying, “You can still get anything you want at any of those gyms.”
Colosimo also believes that despite NCAA rules banning steroids and increased knowledge about negative health effects, it’s unlikely anything will stop steroid use. “The steroid era will never end because it works too much,” he said. “The competition now is worse than it was 20 years ago. It starts when you’re 3 or 4 years old, when your parents tell you that you’re going to the NFL. The guys are always going to compete and when you get to that level [collegiate], they’re going to do whatever it takes.”
Patrick Bohn is an Assistant Editor at Training & Conditioning.