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   Missouri All-American Michael Sam says he is gay, and the defensive end could become the first openly homosexual player in the NFL.  Sam told ESPN, The New York Times and Outsports, that he came out to his Mizzou teammates and coaches in August.  

   The 255 pound Sam participated in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama last month after leading the SEC with 11 1/2 sacks and 19 tackles for loss.  He's projected to be a mid-round NFL draft pick.  

   Sam says: "It's a big deal. No one has done this before. And it's kind of a nervous process, but I know what I want to be ... I want to be a football player in the NFL."

 

Reaction to Michael Sam saying in interviews that he is gay:

 

"It takes an incredible amount of courage to break ground on a social issue on a national stage. Michael Sam is a young man of tremendous fortitude and confidence. It is these traits that make it possible for him to be among the best on the field and now to have an impact on the world of sport in a very important way. I also applaud the wonderful support given to him by his teammates and the University of Missouri." — Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive.

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"I think a lot of guys in the NFL are going to say they will accept it, but there are a lot of guys who won't. The reality is Michael Sam is going to open himself up to a lot of criticism and a lot of challenges. Those are challenges most gay people have to go through, but when you are dealing with alpha males and some meatheads in an NFL locker room it's amplified. And there are some guys who have strong religious beliefs too, so he's going to be judged. He's going to face some things that are going to be very difficult to overcome." — Former NFL offensive lineman Frank Garcia, now a sports radio show host with WFNZ-AM in Charlotte.
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"Had multiple convos with @MikeSamFootball this year, amazed at his honesty & courage! Once a tiger, ALWAYS a Tiger." — Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and former Missouri star Chase Daniel on Twitter @ChaseDaniel.
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"Very happy for Michael Sam. His courage will inspire millions to live their truth." — MLS player Robbie Rogers, who is gay, on Twitter.
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"I could care less about a man's sexual preference! i care about winning games and being respectful in the locker room!" — Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams on Twitter @DeAngeloRB.
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"We are so proud of Michael for what he has accomplished at Mizzou academically, socially and competitively. This is a young man who earned his degree from MU, was a unanimous All-American on the football field and now he's being a leader in his personal life. He continues to display great character, courage and compassion. We are proud of him on every level." — Missouri Athletic Director Mike Alden.
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"Best of luck in the draft @MikeSamFootball. #respect #YouCanPlay @YouCanPlayTeam" — Former NFL player Zak DeOssie on Twitter @zdeossie.
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"There will be some interest early on (and missteps), but by week one, it'll be a non story. The way it should be from that point on." — Arizona Diamondbacks pitcher Brandon McCarthy on Twitter @BMcCarthy32.
 
Published in Sports
CHICAGO (AP) — Gay and bisexual teen boys use illicit steroids at a rate almost six times higher than do straight kids, a "dramatic disparity" that points up a need to reach out to this group, researchers say.
 
Reasons for the differences are unclear. The study authors said it's possible gay and bi boys feel more pressure to achieve a bulked-up "ideal" male physique, or that they think muscle-building steroids will help them fend off bullies.
 
Overall, 21 percent of gay or bisexual boys said they had ever used steroids, versus 4 percent of straight boys. The difference was similar among those who reported moderate use — taking steroid pills or injections up to 40 times: 8 percent of gay or bi teens reported that amount, versus less than 2 percent of straight boys. The heaviest use — 40 or more times — was reported by 4 percent of gays or bi boys, compared with less than 1 percent of straight teens.
 
The study is billed as the first to examine the problem; previous research has found similar disparities for other substance abuse.
 
"It's a bit sad that we saw such a large health disparity," especially among the most frequent steroid users, said co-author Aaron Blashill, a psychologist and scientist with the Fenway Institute, the research arm of a Boston health center that treats gays and lesbians.
 
"Given the dramatic disparity ... it would seem that this is a population in which greater attention is needed," the authors said.
 
Their research was released Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
 
The nationally representative study is an analysis of government surveys from 2005 and 2007. It involved 17,250 teen boys aged 16 on average; almost 4 percent — 635 boys — were gay or bisexual. Blashill said it's likely more recent data would show the disparities persist.
 
Dr. Rob Garofalo, adolescent medicine chief at Lurie Children's Hospital in Chicago, said the differences aren't surprising, since it is known that gay youth often have "body image issues." But he said, "It is still shocking. These are dramatically high rates."
 
The Food and Drug Administration issued a consumer update in November warning that teens and steroids are "a dangerous combo," citing government data showing that about 5 percent of high school boys and 2 percent of high school girls use steroids — more than a half-million kids.
 
Steroids include synthetic versions of the male hormone testosterone. Users take them to promote muscle growth, strength and endurance. Side effects can include heart and liver problems, high blood pressure, acne and aggressive behavior. With their still-maturing bodies, teens face a heightened risk for problems that may be permanent, the FDA update.
 
Steroids are legally available only by prescription. There are few FDA-approved uses, including replacement of hormones in men who have unusually low levels.
 
Potential signs of abuse include mood swings, speedy muscle growth and even breast development in boys.
 
Garofalo said some of his gay and bi patients have admitted using steroids. Those patients sometimes have acne, high blood pressure, anxiety, or aggression related to steroid use, but those symptoms usually go away when the drug use stops, he said.
 
Kids are often less open about using steroids than about drinking or smoking marijuana, but the study helps raise awareness and the results suggest it's a topic physicians should be raising with their patients, especially gay and bi kids, Garofalo said.
 
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Online: Pediatrics: http://www.pediatrics.org
Published in Health & Fitness

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