When Dad’s the Drug Pusher

April 10th, 2008 by Kathy McManus

A father is convicted of supplying steroids to his athlete son—is the son right to turn him in?

Brought to you by Liberty Mutual's
The Responsibility Project

Like most competitive athletes, in-line speed-skater Corey Gahan hoped fierce determination and hard training would give him the edge he needed to fulfill his dream of becoming the best in his sport.

But unlike most competitive athletes, Corey Gahan’s father insisted on supplying that winning edge, regularly injecting his son with steroids and human growth hormone, the same illegal substances at the heart of the ongoing major league baseball scandal. And unlike the pros, Corey started to receive the shots when he was just 13 years old.

In less than a year, Corey’s blood tests showed he had more than 20 times the normal testosterone level of an adult male. His father continued the shots. Corey says he felt “like I was doing something wrong.” But the teenager trusted his father.

By age 15, Corey was a national champion; at 16, a record-setter. On the rare occasions Corey lost, his father refused to speak to him. When he won, the paternal rewards included televisions, PlayStations, and an American Express gold card.

And then Corey failed a drug test. And another.

The United States Anti-Doping Agency suspended him for two years, and a criminal investigation was begun to determine who had supplied Corey with steroid shots. He was ordered to forfeit all the races he had won in the previous two years.

But the final shot was the one through Corey’s heart, when he did what he believed he had a responsibility to do. Having already lost his status as a sports champion, Corey Gahan lost his father, by turning him in to authorities.

James Gahan--Corey’s father--was sentenced to six years in federal prison. He is believed to be the first parent in the U.S. convicted of providing steroids to his child.

Tell us what you think--Was there any other way Corey Gahan could have done the right thing without implicating his father? Should the son share responsibility with the father?