Kochi/New Delhi: A growing number of fitness gyms are selling and encouraging the use of body-building steroids. A family lost its young son Rijo to these drugs.
"My son was very healthy and he used to go to the gym to maintain himself. His gym instructor lured him to take supplementary powders and six months later we lost our son after he got a sudden stroke," said Rijo's father George, who is still trying to come to terms with the death of his 29-year-old son.
Rijo George's mother bursts into tears when she recollects her only son's tragic end. He has left behind a young wife and their one and half-year-old son.
Hailing from a Kochi suburb in Kerala, Rijo was initiated into the world of body building by the instructor of his new neighbourhood gym. He told his family that the instructor asked him to take supplementary powders to bulk up. Six months later, Rijo was rushed to the hospital and was declared dead on arrival.
Rijo's post-mortem report says that he died of occlusive coronary artery disease. The surgeon told his family that excess amount of fat was found to be deposited in the valves and that the supplementary powders that he used to take for body building could be the reason.
Recently the drug controllers' department confiscated consignments of imported veterinary steroids from Malappuram district. It included a steroid called Boldenone, which is given to racing horses. Steroids used for increasing broiler chicken body mass, and testosterone capsules were also found.
Waking up to the reality of widespread abuse, the drug controllers' department is planning a crackdown on gyms.
MR Pradeep, Assistant Drug Controller, Kochi, said, "The gym instructors are misusing steroids that are specific for certain body conditions. They are not experts, just by word of mouth the information spreads, and these drugs are used unethically."
It is time to bring in regulations and standardise the fitness industry before more Rijos fall prey to this obsession with perfection.