It’s time for professional sports to get serious about psychological drugs.

Scientific American just published a review of recent scientific studies examining the relationship between music and athletic performance.

The key quote: In a 2012 review of the research, Costas Karageorghis of Brunel University in London, one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of exercise music, wrote that one could think of music as “a type of legal performance-enhancing drug.”

Anyone who’s listened to an iPod at the gym has knows this, but it’s time for professional sports to wake up and address it.

There can no longer be any doubt: listening to music helps people perform better than they would if they just listened to the sounds of nature or the gym. Birds are natural. The sound of feet hitting the pavement is natural (though the sounds of shoes may be unnatural). Men grunting and dropping weights on the floor of the gym is natural. Electric guitars? Not natural. Drum boxes? Not at all natural. Lady Gaga? Not remotely natural.

Stereo equipment? What farm did it come from? iPods? Show me what tree those grow on.

It’s time we face the facts: athletes who listen to recorded music during their workouts are benefiting from artificial, unnatural performance enhancements. They are cheating. The are destroying the integrity of the game, destroying themselves, and destroying the fragile social fabric that binds this nation together.

And it must be stopped. Athletes set an example for our children. And when top athletes “get pumped up” be listening to Lady Gaga, or Justin Bieber, or gangsta rap, what do we think our children will do? They’ll listen to it. And they might become a Belieber and who wants that for their child? Moreover, they’ll perform better in the gym, lifting more, running further, paying less attention to pain, their bodies’ natural way of avoiding injury.

The solution must come from the top.

USA Track and Field has already banned runners from listening to music during races. Are the major sports leagues going to let themselves be led by Track and Field? Or, will the NFL, MLB, and NBA step up and do what’s right, for themselves, for their players, and for America?

Playing music when a batter walks out to box? The science doesn’t lie: this is an artificial performance enhancement.

Just because athletes don’t take it in pill form, or rub it on their skin, or inject it, doesn’t make it less artificial. It’s going straight through their ears into their brain – the fastest intake method conceivable.

Major League Baseball has been rocked by steroid scandals in the past. It should take this opportunity to step up and lead. Ban music at games, and impose serious penalties on athletes who cheat by listening to music in the gym.

By Josh Orum
You can contact Josh at