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American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation:
doi: 10.1097/PHM.0b013e318198b622
Original Research Article: Musculoskeletal

Self-Reported Anabolic-Androgenic Steroids Use and Musculoskeletal Injuries: Findings from the Center for the Study of Retired Athletes Health Survey of Retired NFL Players

Horn, Scott DO; Gregory, Patricia MD; Guskiewicz, Kevin M. PhD, ATC

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Abstract

Horn S, Gregory P, Guskiewicz KM: Self-reported anabolic-androgenic steroids use and musculoskeletal injuries: Findings from the center for the study of retired athletes health survey of retired NFL players.

Objective: The relationship between musculoskeletal injuries and anabolic-androgenic steroids is not well understood. The purpose of our study was to investigate the association between self-reported anabolic-androgenic steroids use and the prevalence of musculoskeletal injuries in a unique group of retired professional football players.

Design: A general health questionnaire was completed by 2552 retired professional football players. Survey data were collected between May 2001 and April 2003. Results of self-reported musculoskeletal injuries were compared with the use of anabolic-androgenic steroids using frequency distributions and χ2 analyses.

Results: Of the retired players, 9.1% reported using anabolic-androgenic steroids during their professional career. A total of 16.3% of all offensive line and 14.8% of all defensive line players reported using anabolic-androgenic steroids. Self-reported anabolic-androgenic steroids use was significantly associated (P < 0.05) with the following self-reported, medically diagnosed, joint and cartilaginous injuries in comparison with the nonanabolic-androgenic steroids users: disc herniations, knee ligamentous/meniscal injury, elbow injuries, neck stinger/burner, spine injury, and foot/toe/ankle injuries. There was no association between anabolic-androgenic steroids use and reported muscle/tendon injuries.

Conclusions: Our findings demonstrate that an association may exist between anabolic-androgenic steroids use and the prevalence of reported musculoskeletal injury sustained during a professional football career, particularly ligamentous/joint-related injuries. There may also be an associated predisposition to selected types of injuries in anabolic-androgenic steroids users.

© 2009 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.

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