It is well known that being in the spotlight is stressful. Few and far between are the celebrities who can handle it without extra “help.” Actors and actresses are not the only ones that cannot handle the stress that comes with fame; athletes, too, find themselves not able to deal with. While drug use causes major health problems, for athletes, it may also ruin their career. Some of the best athletes have watched themselves fall out of good standing with the sport of their choice, which was both their love and their livelihood. Here are five of the worst abusers in sports history.
1. One such athlete was Steve Howe. During his baseball career, he was suspended seventeen times for substance abuse. Though he checked himself into rehab in 1983, he relapsed after getting out. Howe flipped his car in California after shooting crystal meth and was killed.
2. Dwight Gooden was considered to have one of the most promising young starts in baseball. Soon after his career took off, he took up cocaine. During the next few years, he failed two drug tests. This was not the lowest point for Gooden, however. In 1986, he did not show up to the World Series parade, due to a cocaine binge. He retired in 2001 after being cut by the Yankees.
3. Marion Jones was once a top track and field star, as well as playing basketball for Tulsa Shock in the WNBA. Winning five medals in the 2000 Olympics, she was forced to give them up in 2007 when found guilty of taking performance enhancing drugs as early as 2000. She then served six months in jail for lying to the grand jury about her drug use.
4. Though he is in the Hall of Fame, Lawrence Taylor, former linebacker for the New York Giants, is not without his own stint with drugs. He admitted to cocaine use in 1987 and was suspended the next year for failing his second drug test.
5. Lance Armstrong is a name known world-wide, both for his career and his fight with cancer. Winning the Tour De France seven consecutive times, his career was often called into question. However, when he was finally found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs in 2012, he forfeit all results dating back to 1998. Not only that, but he is also banned from professional biking for life.
These athletes had the chance to have a bright and unblemished career, but chose drugs that ultimately ended their athletic career instead.
Hayley is a substance abuse counselor, author and blogger residing in Florida. Learn more here about how you can help someone you love battle their drug or alcohol addiction. For more information on the harmful effects of drugs, visit drugscope.org.uk/