League touts "breakthrough" hGH test

One of the primary flaws in the NFL’s steroids policy comes from the absence of testing for human growth hormone.  Instead, the league relies on an honor system, supplemented by physical evidence of use or possession that may fall into the NFL’s hands by random chance or dumb luck.  And so the NFL has been trying to get the players’ union to agree to blood testing for hGH, since it can’t be spotted in a urine sample.

The union has resisted, but the pressure continues to mount, especially since the CFL recently has adopted its own blood test for hGH.

The tide may be turning even more strongly against the union’s position, given the reported availability of a “breakthrough” in detecting the substance in blood.  According to Eddie Pells of the Associated Press, the new method is expected to become available “soon.”

“The new test, called a bio-markers test, scans the blood for chemicals
the body produces after hGH use, which are detectable for up to two
weeks,” Pells writes.  “The test, expected to be available in the
coming weeks or months, is a complement to — or maybe an improvement
over — the current test, called an isoform test, which scans blood for
synthetic hGH.”

Urine testing, however, still remains on the distant horizon.  “In a perfect world, a urine test would be far easier for us to deal with and administer than a blood test,” NFL V.P. of labor policy and player development Adolpho Birch told Pells.  “The problem is, we thought there was some chance a urine test could be developed.  That’s increasingly looking less likely.  The practical reality is, we need to focus on a test that works, and the test that works is blood.”

And so the issue will be tossed into the list of gives-and-takes that will continue to be hammered out as the NFL and the union try to finalize (or, as the case may be, make any progress on) a new labor deal.  And the NFL will continue to hammer away publicly at the issues that will find support with the public.  Indeed, both NFLLabor.com and NFL spokesman Greg Aiello (via Twitter) touted the news of the new hGH test.

The union did not respond to requests for comment from the AP.  And for good reason.

Really, what would they say?  We prefer to let cheaters operate on the honor system?

34 responses to “League touts "breakthrough" hGH test

  1. Normally i like the idea of drug testing in sports…but man this could bring on a whole thing like the steroids era in baseball. I have a feeling alot of these guys are using. but i think the league runs smoothly enough to let it pass
    P.s. my grundle is aflame

  2. You won’t see any 41 year old QB’s in the league anymore if this goes through. Unless the league covers up drug test results so their superstars can keep on drawing in the television ratings.
    But the NFL wouldn’t do that, would they?

  3. People who take steroids and HGH are cheaters. They count on the edge these drugs give them over guys who play by the rules. Every juicer not only cheats the clean players they compete with on the field; they cheat all their team mates who played by the rules, especially the ones who competed with them for roster spots.
    Scared to compete on a level playing field, these men seek an edge that tilts the field in their favor, cheating all the clean players that tried out for that spot.
    All it takes is one obvious juicer in a program and the coaches looking the other way and the floodgates open up. Even guys who want to play clean will be sorely tempted to take these drugs because they just want to get the playing field level again.
    If a guy wins a starting spot because he’s bigger, faster and stronger through illicit drug taking, he cheats every honest player he plays against and he cheats every clean team mate on his own team who competed for that spot.
    He didn’t WANT a level playing field. The guys who use these drugs consider clean players suckers and losers. This strikes to the very heart of what sports is all about: fair competition.

  4. I think the union of whoever has to handle NFL players’ blood is probably against this too.
    I mean seriously….imagine holding a cup full of Travis Henry or Ben Roethlisberger’s diseased blood.

  5. hGH is not a performance enhancing drug like steriods. it is a healing drug. It allows the body to better heal itself. What is next? Banning anti-biotics?
    HGH should not be banned.

  6. Rollout ASAP with a fingertip pin-prick sample collection. Test all players monthly from one month prior to the season through the end of each team’s season. Test randomly the rest of the season. Test all those in the PED and substance-abuse program at least monthly during the off-season and randomly between monthly tests. Suspend first-time offenders for a full calendar year, and ban second-time offenders for life.

  7. If league wide testing is mandated. A certain over the hill QB may skip more then training camp.

  8. First guy to test, Peyton Manning….
    How else could the guy have such a huge forehead?

  9. First they should test the owners at every NFL game and any league meetings! Hypocrites!

  10. Bigrig is right. This will probably be Farve’s last year then or he’ll be risking a Bonds/Clemens type scenario.

  11. hgh not only can help u with strenght. it helps you heal faster too. users dont usually take hgh alone for strength. the couple it with steriods for the full effectiveness. the league may be against it for this but do u think they would be against it to get their superstars back on the field faster when taken for the healing factor?

  12. “# the real deal says: July 10, 2010 7:46 PM
    First guy to test, Peyton Manning….
    How else could the guy have such a huge forehead?”

  13. Hey PriorKnowledge, or I should say, somedumbf…,
    they would’nt use them if they didn’t work or else why all the controversy. Its about GROWTH, duh, growing the human body, not just healing based on taking at excessive levels. Yeah, know it all, tell us some more of your half-assed educated self.

  14. Some of you have no clue what HGH is. Not a performance enhancing drug? Shouldn’t be banned?
    Jesus Christ, you have an internet available to you.
    USE IT.
    Here’s some handy internet search engine searches you can do:
    Side effects of HGH use
    Strength gains through HGH use
    Acromegaly (i.e. ‘gigantism’)

  15. @manofaiki; great post, appreciate the knowledge.
    Wannstache says:
    July 10, 2010 7:55 PM
    Bigrig is right. This will probably be Farve’s last year then or he’ll be risking a Bonds/Clemens type scenario.
    Been saying that for a while. Sitting in front of a congressional revue. I can see it now.
    He’ll deny, and then he’ll cry.

  16. Well, why is HGH totally banned in the first place? It is effective in helping the healing process after a major injury, and yet, it is banned, that is like banning Aspirin for headaches because it reduces the risks of heart attacks.

  17. This sounds like another opportunity for the League to talk out of both sides if it’s mouth. It’s all well and good for them to talk tough about testing but it is on the league’s best interest to get the superstars with shredded knee tendons back on the field ASAP to fill the seats and make the TV money. Medical and surgical methods are advancing at mind boggling rates but shredded knees are still shredded knees and it’s unnatural for guys to come back after only one off season.
    Fairness and a level playing field? Give me a break. Does a superior military give the enemy info to neutralize their own advantages? Mo one bitches when a guy brings brass knuckles to a fight unless you are the one getting hit by them.
    Face it, steroids saved MLB after the strike and it us naive to think that PEDs aren’t helping the NFL rake in extra money either. It sucks but that’s the way it is. Get over it or quit watching the games.

  18. The Fixsburgh Steelers are screwed and not because Big Ben can’t control Little Ben, they are the bigggest HGH users in the NFL.

  19. No Jimmy. No they aren’t. As much as you hate Pittsburgh, you have no frame of reference to make such a claim. Sucks to be filled with so much jealousy, envy and rage. If any Steeler had been caught using HGH or any other PED in this decade OR the previous two decades, you’d have a point. (Go ahead and go back to the 1970’s if you want. I will save you the time and effort by playing the Lyle Alzado 1969-1983 Broncos-Browns-Raiders trump card on you right now).
    You lost and deep down, you know it. But you will come up with some argument that defies factual information and the mere existence of Alzado (and the San Diego Chargers introucing steroids to the NFL in the 60’s).
    Every time a Steeler dies in their 50’s or 60’s, people like you scream “steroids!” An Oiler LB just died at 53. Did he do roids? Don’t know, but why don’t we just assume he did? Hey, he was 53, died too early and played in the same era as Alzado and Webster, so he’s guilty, right?

  20. You can mark this down. I have a friend who plays for a team and from what I know, if all the teams are somewhat close in the behavior of their players, over half of the league is on steroids or HGH, particularly 320 pound linemen running 4.9 or better 40s and over half the guys hitting over 30 reps of 225. I would say maybe 1-2 percent of the league is all natural with the rest of the league taking supplements such as things from GNC or some of these labs. The NFL is just as bad as MLB, maybe worse. Look at the linemen in the 60 and 70s and look at them today. You guys don’t really think genetics have changed that much do you?

  21. “Football Fan says: July 10, 2010 10:30 PM
    You can mark this down. I have a friend”
    Well I don’t particularly believe it, I will mark it down just on the off chance it is true.

  22. So…I guess every player in the NFL will either fail or lose 30 lbs of muscle beofre the testing takes place…

  23. If you eliminate all steroids and supplements, it would not make alot of difference.
    For instance, Lance is riding nearly as strong now at 39 clean then at 32 (probably) dirty.
    Look, statistics explain most, but not all, the improvement over decades. There is a given ratio of talent in any population. Greater numbers in any sport means greater chance of great genetics in the sport. Combine that with steering kids through only one sport and starting training earlier and earlier, and that explains most of the improvement. Japenese mean are 5 inches taller since WWII, simply diet.
    Yes, drugs make a difference, but you cannot turn back the clock. Even without drugs, if you put Alan Page or Merlin Olsen on a serious strength training program and had them train year around since 13, they would be monsters in this area and not just theirs era.

  24. Looks like Ray Lewis will have to retire now if the union ever agrees to this.

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