Sometimes athletes can want to win too much, even to the point of jeopardizing their lives and health. The dangerous lengths that athletes can go to win is the focus of this title. It explores the practice of taking of performance-enhancing drugs to help provide that extra burst of speed or strength. The author details many provocative cases, such as that of former National Football League player Lyle Alzado whose steroid use led to the brain cancer which ultimately killed him. Christy Henrich was a star gymnast who missed making the 1988 U.S. Olympic team by 0.118 of a point. Her self-destructive response, a regime of exercise and starvation, led to her death in 1994. At the time, she weighed only 61 lbs. Instead of interviewing any athletes or other personalities detailed in her book, the author uses secondary source material exclusively. Given the subject matter contained here, using primary source material could have made this a more interesting treatment of an important topic. This book is ideal for research projects concerning drug use in sports and athletic injuries. However, it is unlikely to be picked up by a child who is simply looking for something to read.
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8An overview of health issues related to sports. Stiefer incorporates numerous stories of contemporary figures to illustrate her basic idea that athletes need to be proactive in educating and protecting themselves from the injuries that result from giving in to pressure to overtrain, take undue risks, or use performance-enhancing drugs. Specific topics covered include sports psychology, substance abuse, nutrition and starvation, dealing with injuries, competition, motivation, and body image. Full-color photos add action to the text, and boxed sidebars add additional information. The author writes clearly and without sensationalism, calmly conveying her message of caution and common sense. Her sources are well documented. Katherine S. Talmadge's Focus on Steroids (21st Century Bks, 1991) gives more information on substance abuse. Lyle J. Micheli covers the same range of subjects in much greater depth in Sportswise (Houghton, 1990), a book loaded with specific information for a wider audience.Joyce Adams Burner, Hillcrest Library, Prairie Village, KS