Stress experts say that when athletes get angry, their testosterone and noradrenaline levels tend to rise and become hard to control. Intense competition level produces an aggressive approach to the world, says Laura German, a lecturer with the Chico State University sociology department. It’s a compulsive nature you take with you off the field. Some studies are beginning to say that athletes may physiologically have higher levels of testosterone, a male hormone that has been linked to aggression, she said. Even fans can become violent. A study by Georgia State University scientists showed that watching a game can raise a fan’s testosterone level, which might account for fans’ rioting after games, the researchers said.
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The problem for athletes may be perpetuated by steroid use, German added. Steroid use increases your susceptibility to violence. The biggest problem with steroids and violence is that no longterm studies have been done.
Hideous things can occasionally happen in amateur sports, as well. In 1991 in East Saint Louis, Illinois, a baseball coach who shot at a teenage umpire for calling out a nine-year-old player on his team was sentenced to 12 years in prison for attempted murder. Just after another game in Illinois in 1990, a Little League coach and his father attacked the opposing coach, who had apparently usurped the authority of an umpire by calling plays at first base. The victim, who suffered broken bones, a lacerated kidney, and a scratched retina, was later awarded $ 758,000 in a civil court case. Larry Nicholson, a skinny and soft-spoken 17-year-old from Philadelphia, said he didn’t know what made him throw a punch at a referee in a high school basketball game. Nicholson was carted away in handcuffs, jeopardizing his chance at a college scholarship. I just lost control, he said. All I can do now is grow, try to learn from it.
Sarah Morgan, a Mission League soccer player in Sherman Oaks, CA, said she becomes intense and even angry when she looks on their opponents as enemies. In 1995, she was suspended for allegedly kicking an opponent in the neck.