Monday, August 29, 2011

Will HGH Testing Happen this Season in the NFL?

You might remember on the heels of the new CBA being ratified, the NFL announced it would implement HGH testing at the start of the season, and test players, without limitation, on game days. None of the 4 leagues tests for HGH so this was big.

Not so fast, said the NFLPA.

"The truth is that we have not agreed to any of the terms and everything the league has said is what it hopes for," NFL Player Association spokesman George Atallah told the New York Times. "All of those things they are talking about are still open to discussion."

The new CBA provides that HGH testing would be conducted annually and on a random basis. If the sides can't reach agreement on HGH testing, then the current testing policy stays in place. That policy doesn't call for blood testing - so no HGH testing.

The sticking point is the procedures that would be used by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). The NFLPA is questioning the reliability of the WADA's HGH testing and the transparency of its results. WADA handles drug testing for the Olympics.

The NFLPA has talked about commissioning their own independent studies.

So what does all this mean? With the NFLPA wanted to examine testing procedures on its own, it would be surprising to see HGH testing in place this season. This is despite pressure from Congress to resolve the matter. It's possible - but time is running out.

HGH is illegal without a doctor's prescription. It has been associated with helping athletes recover faster from injury and also enhance their performances (there is the argument that it does not help improve performance; however it stands to reason that if it helps a player recover then it by extension improves that player's performance).

HGH is difficult to detect. Only a blood sample taken with within 36 to 48 hours of HGH being introduced into the blood stream can reliably show its presence.

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