NEW YORK -- Dr. Bob Goldman, a leading sports medicine physician, said Thursday nearly 200 athletes had called him during the past 24 hours to say they were giving up use of anabolic steroids because of recent disclosures about the muscle building drugs.
Goldman said the callers were responding to his statement, in a UPI dispatch Wednesday, that at least six athletes had died from heart attacks, heart disease and liver cancer over the past year because of their prolonged use of steroids.
Athletes take steroids, either orally or by injection, to build their muscles.
'Since yesterday I have been bombarded by phone calls at home and at the hospital from kids that are saying, 'That's it.' They're not using it anymore,' said Goldman, director of Sportsmedicine Research at the Chicago Osteopathic Medical Center.
'We're not talking about hard core kids here. These are people who said they were only taking a little bit. I would say I've had 200 phone calls in the last 24 hours. When I got home from the hospital my answering machine was full.'
Goldman said Thursday that although he did not yet have documented evidence to prove anabolic steroid use was directly responsible for five of the deaths caused by heart attack and heart disease, he was convinced that this was the case based on conversations with colleagues and autopsy reports that had been sent to him. The sixth death resulted from liver cancer.
'I stick by my story, without question,' Goldman told UPI. 'I strongly believe that the use of anabolic steroids played an integral part in these athletes' deaths.
'I'm saying that scientifically this is what it appears to be. The only time you can be sure about the cause of any death is if you actually see someone get struck by a car.'
Goldman said there was plenty of evidence to support the claim that anabolic steroid use causes liver cancer.
A case report written by Goldman about the damaging effects on the liver caused by anabolic steroid use was published Thursday by the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
The report discussed the case of a 37-year-old athlete who was found to have a cancerous liver this year after taking the drug Anadrol twice a day for nearly five years.
A biopsy taken of the athlete's liver disclosed the presence of cancer and a 4-pound malignant tumor was excised, the report said.
The report stated that 35 cases of liver tumors in association with anabolic steroid therapy have been reported since 1965. One of those cases involved a 26-year-old male body builder who died three months following the initial diagnosis of a cancerous tumor in his liver.
Goldman said the athlete was Daniel Baroudi of Latrobe, Pa., a 26-year-old body builder who had been taking steroids for three years. He died three months after the initial diagnosis of the cancer and lost close to 80 pounds in the process.