COVID-19 Poses a Threat to the Integrity of Athletes

By Emma Spring

New York City, New York

Athletes were likely given an opportunity to gain a major competitive advantage without getting caught (Photo Credit: ABC News)

Quarantine has given many athletes the time and opportunity to exercise, get in shape and put on muscle mass. But are these incredible transformations in a matter of months due to the amount of time in the offseason, or the work of performance-enhancing drugs?


Monitoring of competitive athletes’ use of performance-enhancing drugs has been conducted for years. The process has largely reduced the amount of cheating for fear of being caught. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic ravages around the world, causing lengthy lockdowns and untold economic hardship, such restrictions have significantly reduced the ability to conduct such tests. Without testing, athletes were likely given an opportunity to gain a major competitive advantage without getting caught.


In Major League Baseball specifically, there were 3,733 urine samples and 412 blood samples this season––down from 9,332 urine samples and 2,287 blood samples from last year. Still, there were ten positive tests for performance-enhancing substances, so one can only imagine the levels of positive tests if more were conducted.


Regardless of how many athletes actually took drugs, the effects for the next few seasons may not be reversed. According to the New York Times, “Studies have shown that just one dose of performance-enhancing drugs can produce benefits that last as long as four years.”


While there is no concrete evidence of increased use of performance-enhancing drugs, these incredible body transformations in such a small period of time raise speculation. In the coming years, people will undeniably cast doubt onto the integrity of athletes as they tack on muscle, shatter records and near superhuman athletic abilities.