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DRUG MENACE: CAN SPORTS BE A WAY OUT?

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Encouraging sportsmanship with positivity, true spirit and discipline is the way forward to deal with drug abuse.

By: Dr.Tasaduk Hussain Itoo

Sports instill positivity, team spirit, competence, self- esteem, self reliance and self-confidence in a person. If we talk of sports as a route to erase the menace of drug abuse, we may be too enthusiastic and it might be a dream situation – but it really has the potential and the spirit by which youth are driven towards something positive. But would the initiatives by organizations working in this field really bring revolution? I have many things to say. It is not just lingering here and there in the play ground that could prove effective but a comprehensive and lasting approach towards sowing the seeds of sportsmanship and subsequently converting sports into as tool for a ‘drugs- free’ tomorrow. Before we acknowledge it, let us first know about the variety-in-sports that youth are magnetically drawn to. Knowing the interest of youth towards sports and its variants would be an effective first – line step in giving a moral and ethical touch to such de-novo initiatives.

Sportsmanship is never considered true unless it is worth is imbibed very enthusiastically. It is actually a team dynamics, culture and patriotic unison that determines the worth outcome of true sportsmanship. Respect and understanding between teammates, coaches and captains, handling authorities and selection committees – is the crucial unique character that holds sportsmanship with true spirit.

While drug abuse can be found among sports persons as well and we have a huge list of top notch sports figures who became addicted to drugs and ruined not only their careers but their lives too. It is a shame the sports persons too fall prey to drug menace but proper encouragement, skill development learning, counseling and catering about healthy ways of body maintenance could prove to be an effective agenda for giving birth to true sportsmanship.

When I talk about my personal experiences being a sports person for some time- I can confidently say that sports is a way to control drug menace. I remember the time when I used to be a commentator in cricket matches being organized at local level. During the innings especially on finals, I usually used to discuss with the organizers about the opportunities that cricket (Sports) could provide to budding youth. The most debatable opportunity elucidated from the discussion was to use sports as a source of community development free from evils of the society – smoking, alcoholism, substance abuse or in short, the drug abuse menace. We even used to have proper protocol that if a player, at any time, was found indulging in any kind of substance abuse; he/she shall be barred from playing. Smoking was prohibited during the innings. Whosoever, if in case was found smoking – the whole team was punished penalized.

If we conduct sports events with clear positive protocols, rules and regulations, it can encourage fair sportsmanship. Even during my recent Interview with Hollywood Actor Chris Levine, who has been a steroid Abuser in his teenage – we relate healthy ways of coping with body image issue which is almost an inborn thought of concern among youth in the current times. Amazingly there was an elucidation that sports could be a far fascinating health- friendly option in overcoming body image issue – indirectly drug menace.

There are several initiatives taken either by NGO’s or other well-policy based groups regarding the matter of controlling drug menace. They are using multiple projects, protocols and strategies to multi-directionally create a way towards drug free society. I remember one such humanitarian Non- Governmental organization , Mother Helpage Worldwide, founded by a well known Kashmiri doctor turned pilot , Dr Sohail Nasti. It is a renowned, multi-disciplinary organization working at state, national and international level. Under its banner and protocol – there is an initiative for healthy community development that includes encouraging and conducting Sports events mainly to work for a drug – free society. Youth are getting an opportunity to freely and fairly explore their talent in Sports of their interest under the aegis of this organization.

The writer is Medico/ Motivational Speaker/Activist /Columnist/Educator at Unacademy and can be reached at [email protected]

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