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Ex-NFL Player’s Warning About Hazards of Drug Use Comes Straight From the Heart

Associated Press

Every day, while he waits and hopes a suitable heart has been found, Steve Courson scribbles furiously into spiral notebooks.

He is concluding more than three years of work on an autobiography that includes a long chapter on the hazards of anabolic steroids.

He also is writing letters and editorials on what he calls the sports world’s “chemical dilemma.”

“This health demise of mine is not something that I’m really thrilled about having to deal with,” he said. “But indirectly, it gives me a platform to get my message across to young people.”

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Courson, 33, doesn’t worry when a heart big enough to fit his 6-foot-1 1/2, 255-pound body will be found.

“I worry about not getting my message out and not having the time and health to do it. That’s what I worry about.”

So Courson writes at his apartment in Wexford, a 20-minute drive from Pittsburgh’s Allegheny General Hospital, where his operation will be performed.

Courson is searching for a publisher for his book, “War in the Trenches: The Chemical Battlefield.”

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In the meantime, he’s revising and updating the manuscript and scheduling speeches at schools.

“No one’s talking about steroids and pain-killers and what it takes to play. I’d just like to prevent this from happening to someone else.”

Despite all that’s happened, Courson doesn’t regret choosing football as a career.

“I played two Super Bowls. I had some great moments in my athletic career,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean I still don’t politically disagree with certain things that go on.

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“I have not been mesmerized by the NFL’s propaganda machine. At one time I was. But after you experience it and you were there, you understand what it’s all about. You’re an item. You’re essentially a disposable hero.”

He also doesn’t regret taking steroids, at least “not wholeheartedly.”

“They helped my career,” he said. “As competitive as the atmosphere of the NFL is, every edge you can get helps.”

Once his book is published and his transplant is behind him, Courson plans to marry, return to college to finish his bachelor’s degree. He then would like to earn a doctorate in history.

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“Athletics, you know, I enjoy them,” he said. “But from what I’ve been through, I’ll use my brain to get through life instead of my body from now on.”


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