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Expert skeptical of overtrained athlete syndrome

If nothing else, Texans linebacker Brian Cushing’s explanation for testing positive for hCG has introduced “overtrained athlete syndrome” into the lexicon and provided a lot of too-easy jokes.  (We’ve determined all my typos are the result of overtrained blogger syndrome.)

The linebacker said he has the science to back up his claims, but Peter King of SI.com relays a conversation with an industry expert in hCG research.  The expert remains skeptical.

We recommend checking King’s entire article out, but the quotes provided by Laurence A. Cole are straightforward.  Cole is an hCG researcher at the University of New Mexico and director of the hCG Reference Service.  He says Cushing’s explanation “sounds like a far stretch . . . I have never seen a case like that.” 

Cole comes up with a few scenarios for false positives in men, but they are very unlikely.

“All these things are rare and remote. The honest truth is that 999 times out of a thousand, the test gives a correct result. If they’re positive, they’re taking hCG.”

Based on what we know, it’s hard to imagine the NFL concluding anything else.

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24 Responses to “Expert skeptical of overtrained athlete syndrome”
  1. Slim Charles says: Aug 11, 2010 5:43 PM

    Recommend a Peter King article? You’ve lost the goodwill you gained from making a Wire reference a few days ago. You’re dead to me, Rosenthal!

  2. FinFan68 says: Aug 11, 2010 5:46 PM

    Cushing also has Cranial Rectum Inversion Syndrome

  3. Starvin Marvin says: Aug 11, 2010 5:46 PM

    999 out of 1000 is not zero. Now, how many people out of 1000 become stars in the NFL? Cushing at worst gets a creativity award for creating a valid excuse. But hCG testing needs to be implemented.

  4. Occam says: Aug 11, 2010 5:49 PM

    Experts also skeptical of “I’m holding it for a friend,” and “It was my first time, I swear!” excuses.

  5. Florio-is-a-tool says: Aug 11, 2010 5:52 PM

    First Cushing claims he was scared of having a miscarriage, then worried about his life by playing with a heart condition (going for the Ed Block Courage Award nomination) and this idiotic nonsense.
    ‘Skins fans are usually the most naive fans followed by the “not in this century” Cowboys fans. But if Texans fans buy this baloney then they’re clearly stupid and more gullible than people who work for Dan Snyder.
    He suffers from a syndrome all right it’s denial. Probably got tips from O.J.

  6. Citizen Strange says: Aug 11, 2010 6:01 PM

    The honest truth is that 999 times out of a thousand, the test gives a correct result. If they’re positive, they’re taking hCG.”
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Actually it’s more like 99,999,999,999 out of 100,000,000,000. In other words there is no such thing.
    But at least Bob “Corky” McNair is gullible enough to believe Cushing.

  7. James Rex says: Aug 11, 2010 6:03 PM

    Slim Charles – This guy made a Wire reference? We can’t be talking about the same Wire. Can you clarify?
    Thanks

  8. CleanSlaton says: Aug 11, 2010 6:04 PM

    Let me get this straight:
    if the test has a 999 out of 1000 accuracy….
    With 32 teams in the NFL, and 53 men on each roster [or 80 if you include the practice squads and various PUP/IR lists]
    32*53= 1696
    So, if every athlete in the NFL gets tested, ostensibly, 1 or 2 of them get screwed by the test, and that’s if the technicians producing the data do it correctly–another huge source of standard error.
    What if 1 out of every 1000 planes crashed?
    What if 1 out of every 1000 cars crashed?
    This ‘expert’ should be more careful of the figures he throws out, because frankly, 999 out of 1000 correct tests isn’t even close to good enough.
    I’m not sayin Cushing is the minority statistic, I’m just saying don’t use articles like the one you’re championing–to accomplish your anti-Cushing agenda.
    You sound like Brian McNamee.

  9. FinFan68 says: Aug 11, 2010 6:04 PM

    Make that Cranial Rectum Inversion Entrophy Syndrome–CRIES. Equal parts of him having his head up his ass and crying about any number of “possible” causes to his test failure except the most logical and plausible one: he got caught using a banned substance while trying to cover up his likely steroid usage.

  10. Mighty B says: Aug 11, 2010 6:09 PM

    I don’t think Cushing is telling the truth either,but this statement…..
    “All these things are rare and remote. The honest truth is that 999 times out of a thousand, the test gives a correct result. If they’re positive, they’re taking hCG.”
    ….is assanine.
    If 1 out of a thousand results are wrong,and let’s say you’re testing only the active roster players and only doing it twice a year….that’s 3 reputations ruined a year.
    I think they need to do all they can to stop the players from “juicing”,but no scientist would make a statement like “if they’re positive they’re taking HCG” immediately after stating that the test is wrong 1 out of a thousand times.
    He sounds more like a politician than a researcher,and I’d guess that statement is completely motivated by his salary as director of the HCG Reference Service and a desire to receive more grant money in the future.

  11. twinkletoes says: Aug 11, 2010 6:10 PM

    “Skeptical” is even stretching it. You have to be a)a woman, and b)pregnant to have hCG in your system.

  12. drb44 says: Aug 11, 2010 6:17 PM

    Before you throw the guy under the bus, there is such a thing as overtraining syndrome (OTS).
    Search pubmed.gov for the medical literature on the condition.
    That being said, there is not any evidence that OTS causes elevated HCG, though it does cause alterations in other hormones. However, absence of proof… is not proof of absence.

  13. JimmySmith says: Aug 11, 2010 6:20 PM

    Cushing sounds so stupid that he clearly should be traded to the Vikings where stupidity is a requirement for fans and head coaches alike.

  14. Cincinnasty says: Aug 11, 2010 6:25 PM

    Man wouldn’t it seriously have been easier to admit you took the crap, hold a press conference, and apologize to the team,the league, and the fans.. Take your punishment and get it over with.. Trying to make up a new medical term and not being able to prove it scientifically is truly a childish reaction to being caught red-handed..

  15. Grulks says: Aug 11, 2010 6:31 PM

    # Starvin Marvin says: August 11, 2010 5:46 PM
    999 out of 1000 is not zero. Now, how many people out of 1000 become stars in the NFL? Cushing at worst gets a creativity award for creating a valid excuse. But hCG testing needs to be implemented.
    =============
    Uh, no it’s not valid. Did you miss the part where the industry expert said that he was skeptical? Do you honestly believe (and expect us to believe) that a NFL linebacker somehow has more knowledge of this situation, and was better able to find research supporting this than someone who does it for a living? That’d be like me saying that as a someone who uses a cell phone as a tool for work, I know more about android cells work than say someone at motorola.
    As far as hCG testing needing to be implemented, it already has been! How exactly do you think he got caught? What do you think he tested positive for?

  16. 60minuteassassin says: Aug 11, 2010 6:32 PM

    FinFan68 says:
    August 11, 2010 5:46 PM
    Cushing also has Cranial Rectum Inversion Syndrome
    ——————–
    I laughed out loud. The funny thing is that Cushing is breaking new ground for what to do when you are caught.
    1. Lie
    2. Make shit up
    3. Continue to lie and make shit up
    4. Never go against rules 1 through 3

  17. WarrenMoonGOAT says: Aug 11, 2010 6:39 PM

    Brian was just trying hard not to be Brianna

  18. ToledoLions says: Aug 11, 2010 6:44 PM

    Jesus CleanSlaton, get Cushing’s skin stick out of your mouth. He’s GUILTY, quit trying to explain his way out of it. He’s doing a good enough job of making himself look like a total moron, I’m sure he doesn’t need your help.

  19. TuffPEX says: Aug 11, 2010 6:45 PM

    JimmySmith sounds like a drunken sconnie to me. I’m not sure why he fells going from talking about Cushing and his BS answer to attacking the Vikes.. Sober up!!!

  20. contract says: Aug 11, 2010 7:11 PM

    I’m always skeptical of lame and obviously made up excuses.

  21. antneejay2 says: Aug 11, 2010 7:16 PM

    Looks like a good time for Cushing to start working on his next excuse.

  22. straight shooter says: Aug 11, 2010 7:28 PM

    Co’mon Brian man up! Ya got popped, so what…take the high road, people have short memories…

  23. BenRapistberger says: Aug 11, 2010 8:32 PM

    If 999 times out of 1000 it gives a false negative, that’s actually a lot. Given there’s more than 1000 players in the NFL, and they all take AT LEAST 1 test a year, this guy makes the case that Brian Cushing’s test was only a matter of time, and a lack of anyone failing this test was the anomaly.

  24. TuffPEX says: Aug 11, 2010 8:43 PM

    JimmySmith sounds as though he has not left the Sconie bar yet. How can you jump from Cushing to the Vikes in such a short amount of time? What is the relevence? I think your upset about losing 2 to the Vikes last year and are afraid it is going to happen again in 10

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