Tony Casillas: 1990s Cowboys used medicine meant for horses

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Former Cowboys defensive lineman Tony Casillas says that when the team was winning Super Bowls in the 1990s, players frequently used a medication meant for horses.

Asked on 105.3 The Fan in Dallas about Ray Lewis’s alleged use of a banned substance contained in deer antler spray, Casillas said he doesn’t know about that — but he does know about another substance that was prevalent in the Cowboys’ locker room.

“When I heard about deer antler spray, when I heard that, I said, ‘That’s nothing,'” Casillas said. “We used to use this stuff called DMSO. That’s what veterinarians put on horses, on a muscle, so this is stuff that you can rub, and we used it in the locker room. We had a bottle and you’d take it. It goes straight to the bloodstream. And I’m not sure about this deer antler stuff, but, I mean, it was prevalent in our locker room. It’s called DMSO. You get it from the veterinarian and it goes right to the bloodstream. It’s an ointment that’s like anti-inflammatory. You put it on your skin and you put it on a muscle, and I guarantee you, in about 30 minutes you’d feel it. It wasn’t on the list. If you’re going to talk about the deer antler stuff, we used DMSO and people knew it. Everyone knew about it.”

DMSO is an abbreviation for dimethyl sulfoxide, and although it is rarely mentioned in performance-enhancing drug scandals these days, its use by athletes was the source of some controversies in the 1980s and 1990s. In 1981, then-Falcons quarterback June Jones said he and his teammates regularly used DMSO and argued that it should be legalized for human use. Although veterinarians prescribe DMSO for animals as an anti-inflammatory, the FDA has approved DMSO only for very limited use for people with a chronic bladder condition, and has warned that DMSO is often fraudulently marketed as a miracle drug for humans, and that it has significant side effects.

Casillas noted that “it wasn’t on the list” of substances banned by the NFL, although he also seemed to acknowledge that it was improper for Cowboys players to obtain a prescription from a veterinarian and then use the substance on humans.

“Let’s put it this way: If you’ve got to get it from a veterinarian, it’s probably — it’s kind of like getting Winstrol V, they’ve got to get it from a vet, but that’s a steroid,” he said.

Casillas made his comments in a radio appearance in which he promoted a health center that urges men to get their testosterone levels checked and to take prescription testosterone if their levels are low. But in that case, men are getting testosterone from a medical doctor, not a veterinarian.

63 responses to “Tony Casillas: 1990s Cowboys used medicine meant for horses

  1. Nice, now we know the Cowboys “cheated” for their Dynasty too. On top of Jimmy Johnson admitting he videotaped opposing defensive signals as well (just google “Jimmy Johnson spygate” to see his comments).

    Some how, I’m sure this will be Belichick’s fault too.

  2. OMG put an asterisk next to their title. I can’t believe somebody would put something in their body to improve performance. The nerve of these people I tell ya

  3. I really getting tired of these guys. Why would you say something like this. You played in the 90s and it’s not like you were all world. The only thing he did was give haters the ability to come on the sight and trash those championship teams. You didn’t feel the need to cleanse your soul when you were doing it. Why come out now and talk about it.

  4. I seem to remember reading about this stuff in the 1970s, maybe even the late Sixties. It was so potent that you had to wear rubber gloves to apply it.

  5. DMSO is meant for humans. The FDA has blackballed DMSO and even though it’s legal, humans use it everyday. The FDA approved it for animals and so lots of vets recommend it. You do NOT need to get a perscription from a vet to get it. I use it, I bought DMSO gel at a organic food market and cafe just this past Monday. You cannot buy it at Wal Mart or Walgreens, Rite Aid, etc. I have a bad hematoma on my shin, I went 20 days and even though the swellin in my leg went down, the hematoma wasn’t really shrinking yet. After two days of DMSO treatment I saw noticible improvement. I woke up today and it’s even smaller, it’s amazing. DMSO isn’t a steroid in the sense of I’m getting bigger, stronger, faster. It’s if I have a sprained ankle, it will reduce swelling faster, if I have ring worm it will kill it faster, if I have arthritis it will take my pain away, if I have a burn it will heal it, if I have a sore knee it will relieve the pain, it can even treat acne. This stuff is amazing, it should be pushed in the open market, it can help millions of people. It’s used all over the world, in the United States we get it from trees. The side effects can range from skin irritation, garlic odor in breathe and headache. Headaches form when you use super large doses, which really only happens in lab testing. The gel I use is odorless, and no odor forms in my mouth and my skin never becomes irratated no matter how much I put on.

  6. From how he describes it, it’s just horse liniment. All it really does is alleviate muscle stiffness and soreness. I used to Powerlift and I’d use similar stuff and put it on my quads before I Squatted or Deadlifted. It’s not going to make you bigger or stronger or more aggressive. Could be wrong but that’s what it sounds like he’s talking about. IMO, not really that big a deal.

  7. no surprise, many players use ointments and PEDs that can fly under the radar undetected, I believe it’s important to approve HGH testing on every player.

  8. DMSO is not an performance in enhancer in any way, it was the originl NSAID (NON-STERIODAL inflammatory drug) and is used heavily in veterinary treatments and research. The reason the FDA does not endorse its human use it two fold, 1- it can be absorbed through the skin, so overdoses are much harder to control and dosage amounts harder to regulate. 2- one of its main side affects is really bad garlic breath produce from the sulfate in the compound. So in short the 90s cowboys rubbed themselves down with liquid ibuprofen that made their breath sink and in there minds they though it was making them better- hilarious

  9. “You get it from the veterinarian and it goes right to the bloodstream. It’s an ointment that’s like anti-inflammatory. You put it on your skin and you put it on a muscle, and I guarantee you, in about 30 minutes you’d feel it.”

    The next time someone tells you that pro athletes know exactly what they are doing with their bodies and are careful as to what they put into it, show them this quote.

  10. The Steelers of the ’70s titles are tainted because of steriods.

    The Cowboys of the ’90s titles are tainted because of DMSO.

    The Patriots of the 2000s are titles are tainted because of spygate.

    Whats next?

  11. If that’s the worst thing that they did I’d be surprised. It’s a substance that was not on a banned substance list. I guarantee the Cowboys weren’t the only team using DMSO.

  12. My dad has horses and he rubs this stuff on his knees. He has bone on bone in there and it makes him function like normal. It’s like injecting ibuprofen straight into the joint.

  13. I don’t see how this taints anything. All they really did was essentially use a more potent transdermal icy hot. I hate the Cowboys, but this really is a non-story. It’s not a performance enhancer in the literal sense. It increases bloodflow to the muscle to alleviate stiffness and soreness and decrease the chance of muscle related injuries.

    That’s it.

  14. After countless hours of searching the net, and utilizing every known keyword combination, the PFT IS dept finally found an image of Tony Casillas buried on page 17 of a Lycos image search.

    When Florio was briefed on this, how deflating it was when he asked, “How about a picture of him standing next to a horse?”

  15. Once again this reveals problem with media that does not guard the public against BS from people looking to promote something for themselves. Similar to Antlergate, this is a ploy for publicity for Cassillas desire to promote health center (his business?). Worse, DMSO is a non story. It has been around since the 60s. I believe back then it was a story because a janitor found benefits from a cleaning solvent and DMSO was born and was soon used by college, pro and even amateur athletes. It was ubiquitous. Hardly news by 90s, but funny Cassillas didn’t know what it was. This isn’t even dog bites man news. It is a sleeping dog. Let it be. Find real news

  16. I heard about it back in the 80’s and bought it somewhere other than from a vet, I don’t recall where.

    I had a terrible aching joint from an injury and I felt the relief right away. I really couldn’t believe how well it worked.

    After several days I didn’t need it anymore but it sure as hell worked.

  17. This would explain why when players for Dallas of that era are asked how many titles the Cowboy’s won in the 90s they stomp their right foot three times before say three.

    You can’t make this crap up!

  18. DMSO is available in many states in the liquid form. It was first used (I was among the test group) in 1965. It has fought the FDA for decads for over-the-counter approval. Its a great anti-arthritic medicine, that includes no steroids, or PED’s. It is readilly available in pill form, under several names. Who ever started the issue has some personal vendetta, not based on medical data. Got a problem with your shoulder, rub it on some other part of your body, and it will go into the blood stream, and help the healing process. No one has every complained about Ben-Gay, why start on this product. For more info check out Dr. Stanley Jacob, U of Ore medical school. He’s the one that has done all the Medical research on DMSO. It has helped Millions of us, in and out of the athletic field.

  19. This stuff is the equivalent of super-duper-strength BenGay……and works extremely fast. I used to play 1st base on a softball team, where the pitcher used this stuff by the gallon. By the end of the 3rd or 4th inning, my bare hand would be numb from the residue left on the ball!

  20. It’s also used as a transport for other drugs. As mentioned, it absorbs straight through the skin into the blood. When mixed with other chemicals such as steroids it carries them almost immediately to the bloodstream, almost as fast as injection.

  21. When I first read the headlines, I said, oh boy, something else. But this is nothing! This is someone looking to make a name for himself and to create a story cause not much is going on. DMSO doesn’t require a prescription from a vet (I don’t know if it did back then). I have used it on my back pain. My mother in law uses it all the time for arthritis pain. It isn’t some miracle freak of nature cure for anything. It is just ointment for pain and inflammation, nothing illegal about it. Get a life to whoever put this out as a “story”.

  22. No ones titles are tainted. The fact of the matter is SCIENCE makes new strides everyday.if the technology that is around today was available 50 years ago,those players would have used it as well! If Gayle Sayers had the same quality of care Adrian Peterson had today ,his numbers would have been phenomenal. Lets stop with the all the fake outrage over so called performance enhancers.

  23. DMSO is a by-product of paper production. The first idea of it having a medical use was because workers who had their hands in it found relief from arthritic pain.

    It was studied a bit from there, but the FDA couldnt find a way to make it cost 500 bucks a bottle and decided there was no profit to be made by corporate medicine makers.

    Anyone can buy DMSO. It is available without any sort of prescription. It is commonly used as a horse liniment, but doctors prescribe it to people for a number of ailments. I have a bottle of roll-on in my house at all times for occasional use on muscle strains and the like. It works. That is all I can say about it.

  24. DMSO is a solvent that readily travels thru the skin into the bloodstream taking whatever chemical you add to it along also. Add ibuprofen, poof thru the skin to the spot. Add a steroid, poof thru the skin to the spot. Have dirt or staph on your skin poof to that spot. It may explain the number of staph infections and other boils these guys get. Plus it causes eye, liver and kidney problems. And when you get it on your skin you immediately get the sensation of tasting garlic in your mouth.

  25. Oh, and it is not a performance enhancing drug. it is more like some asprin cream except it has anti-inflamatory properties. More like a liquid Ibuprofen, but concetrated. It isnt like you can slather on some DMSO and go run the Boston Marathon or make the olympic team.

  26. DMSO was NOT a banned substance, so the Cowboys weren’t cheating. It was probably used on most every team back then. It is not a performance enhancer, so there is no tainting of super bowl wins–by the Cowboys or any other team that used it.

  27. all those chambers that make u heel faster does that mean u cheated to the stuff people say is so dumb every player cheated when they ripped off their boss for these crazy salaries

  28. Non issue. I use DMSO. I am 60 and run marathons. I use it periodically on my legs when they are sore.

    One of the main reasons it is not approved for human use is that you can’t patent it because it has been around for 100 years. It is also cheap. So there is no economic incentive for the drug companies to go through the approval process.

    I buy it at a feed store. They tell me that most of their sales are to runners and cyclists.

    Not a big deal.

  29. DMSO is used on horses to treat collack and primarily helps absorption of whatever medicine they use. I’m guessing the DMSO the players were using was mixed with some steroid and Casillas just wasn’t/isn’t aware of it.

    It’s also used in freezing media for long term cell cryo-storage in labs.

  30. I don’t know anything about DMSO, so I don’t know if I should even comment… but I would say this probably shouldn’t be a surprise. I’d say that just about every team uses stuff that is illegal/banned.

  31. no matter what sport, what era..they all use something/anything to get an advantage..if they want to do damage to themselves in the long run why does it matter? it’s just a game after all

  32. A lot of people use DMSO. It’s very effective as a topical pain reliever. It’s not a steroid and it’s not addictive and it wasn’t on the list of banned substances. They may have had to get it from a vet then. I’ll take his word for it, but you can buy it on Amazon now and in a lot of other places.

  33. One other interesting side effect of DMSO, it will transport dyes, inks, etc. from your socks or uniform or sweatpants and deposit them nicely deep into your tissues… made for some very interesting looking legs, back in the day…

  34. Heck I was using this stuff in the 80’s. I played a lot of baseball and my throwing arm would get so that I could not brush my teeth or comb my hair. Did wonders for me. Thanks to this article, I will be starting to use it a again…on my other shoulder. I kinda forgot about it after all this time. Nothing illegal or improper about it as far as I am concerned. I am headed to Orschelns after work tonight for the cream.

  35. redrew says:Feb 7, 2013 11:24 AM

    Don’t forget the great Niners subverted the salary cap throughout their run

    You mean the salary cap that didn’t start until the year they won their last Super Bowl?

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