The shadow of doping on the tragedies of our football

But what about the alleged connection between recent deaths and banned substances?

The tears that have flowed from the world of Italian football over the deaths of Gianluca Vialli and Sinisa Mihajlovic have been – in almost all cases – genuine sorrow and staunch respect at the agony of illness. Months later, however, a sour aftertaste sets in, a malignant reverberation that pollutes the memory. The temporal and etiological proximity of the two disappearances has indeed drawn attention to the grand old elephant in the space of Italian football: the doping. A Pandora’s box opened again, spitting out the shadows of a time – that golden 20 years between the 80s and 90s – that are still difficult to erase.

Especially those directly involved, i.e. former footballers – including them Dino Baggio, Marco Tardelli And Massimo Brambati – interpreted the disappearance of Vialli and Mihajlovic as a potentially dangerous signal for their health. The fear that the unconditional abuse of doping substances that was typical at the time could in some way have promoted the development of diseases is rightly present in her thoughts. But beyond conspiracies, there really is possible link between the two phenomena? What do we really know about it?

In the age of technology, the physical preparation of athletes – including soccer players – has improved dramatically over a few generations. Comparing a game from just thirty years ago with a current one can be almost ridiculous given the huge differences expressed from a sporting point of view. This transition to physical performance has too often involved uncontrolled and careless development of the health of those directly involved. When performance improvement becomes the only mantra, The price to be paid no longer matters. Therefore, the abuse of performance-enhancing substances has been and still is a tool heavily exploited by many societies.

The active ingredients, which were continuously produced by the pharmaceutical companies, were administered to the players like candy for guinea pigs, regardless of possible side effects that were unknown at the time. Dorelan, Neocromaton, Creatine, Corticosteroids, Amphetamines, Epo: Streams of pills and injectables – some of which will be made illegal in a few years – taken regardless of the dosage. just thatexcessive overdoseas also confirmed by Lamberto Borangaa former goalie-turned-sports-medic seems to be at the heart of the matter.

“The doctor was unable to control the situation. Then it was the same players who, after realizing the positive effects of the standard dosages, chose to take completely arbitrary amounts, and certainly no less.”

A pernicious mechanism that was maintained in many teams for decades before being surfaced by Zeman’s denunciations. Just the same Zeman However, when I was asked does not share the connection between the deaths of Vialli and Sinisa and doping: «Diseases happen to everyone. However, it’s strange that some players get scared now and not after taking certain substances.” If one takes for granted the massive use of dietary supplements and other substances in Series A of this period and claims that there is a connection with the occurrence of pathologies – especially tumors – that is a completely different matter.

The scientific literature – that is, the collection of research results on the subject – lacks results confirming this connection, mainly due to the lack of elements to be analyzed. Although there are numerous jobs who have pointed to a higher risk for outdoor players of developing neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS (identifying them as a major cause), the scientific evidence on cancer doping is tenuous. There are studies that have retrospectively analyzed the prevalence of certain types of diseases in Italian soccer players, but No one has ever proven a cause-and-effect relationship with drug abuseFirstly, there is insufficient consumption data.

only one learn The 2005 study, which analyzed the cases of 350 Italian soccer players active between 1960 and 1996, revealed a double risk of developing certain tumors (liver, pancreas and colon). Not enough to be able to talk about a real connection with doping, which needs much more solid foundations. On the other hand, the scientific method also tells us that to strictly rule it out would be a mistake. Show First What long-term side effects certain substances can have on the human body is indeed difficult, and the history of medicine is full of examples pointing in this direction.

Considering the time that has passed since that period big seizureSome potential chronic consequences may not yet be fully understood. If there were an increase in suspected cases, scientific research would certainly be the first to take note of it or at least investigate the matter. On the contrary, apparently from sports institutions. As the footballers themselves say, a certain veil indeed Omertà seems to float on the upper floors of the FIGC.

It goes without saying that the doping worm is not a welcome topic of conversation for the association. Which over the years has not only meant that it has been reluctant to provide information on consumption data from this period discouraged members – as Brambati himself reports – to speak openly about it.

“Sometimes I envy my anti-mafia colleagues because at least sometimes they do it a penitent it happens. I haven’t found any.

he judges ironically Raphael Guariniello, former prosecutor of the process that led to the first anti-doping law. This disdain for the investigation, displayed by those directly involved, has a variety of reasons – from fear of retaliation to an inability to admit one’s mistakes – with a distinctly Italian flair. Remember – continues Guariniello – that of employees in proceedings for occupational diseases which, while still employed by their employer, prove to be “injurious”.bad witnesses“.

For this reason, according to Guariniello, the investigations at the time did not succeed in fully uncovering the system. But now the years and the fear are strengthening the courage of the former athletes, who have less and less to lose. So could anything change? We will see. Given the modest authority of sports justice in this regard, investigations of this magnitude should be directed by the ordinary courts. Provided, and not taken for granted, that you really want it Discover Pandora’s box.

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