Drug Policy

The Case for HGH

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ESPN investigative reporter Tom Farrey surveys the medical literature, and finds that HGH may help NFL players with pituitary damage caused by concussions and other head injuries, which can be progressively debilitating, even after a player retires. Unfortunately, anti-PED hysteria will likely prevent the league from allowing HGH to be used as treatment in these cases—at least legitimately:

The league is in a precarious situation. Even if it were willing to test for deficiencies, the fact remains that the medically accepted therapy calls for hormones that have been banned. To complicate matters further, head trauma isn't the only way to wreck a pituitary. Taking high amounts of steroids can shut down the natural production of hormones as well, at least temporarily. Understandably, the NFL doesn't want to create a scenario in which drug-abusing players who show a hormone deficiency are rewarded.

Consider the implications of this passage. The league has banned HGH (on very little evidence), allegedly to protect its players from the harm it allegedly does to their health. But the game of football itself is causing debilitating, potentially life-threatening injuries to players, and we think little of it. These injuries are the entirely predictable result of the slobber-knocking hits that make the game so much fun to watch, both live, and from the six different angles in various highlight packages on SportsCenter.

So we're okay with trusting players to take the risks to their health that come with actually playing football. But we draw the line at letting them use artificial drugs to help them recover more quickly from those injuries. Because that might be dangerous. Or it might benefit players who are using PED's for non-medical purposes.

As Farrey explains, the good news is that the underground labs are miles ahead of testing technology. So most of the league is getting treatment anyway. It's just too bad that players have to protect their own health on the sly, and that the people who treat them risk their careers, and possibly their freedom.

Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch on the PED hsyteria here. Watch video of my debate against anti-PED shaman Dick Pound and others here.

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  1. Radley,

    I’m a little slow sometimes, so I had to think a bit to connect PED to performance enhancing drugs. Isn’t it customary to spell out an acronym with it’s initial use in a written piece? At least until said acronym is in common usage?

    This is a minor bitch. Put it near the bottom on your things to be concerned about list.

  2. hehe.. ‘Dick Pound’…

  3. it’s initial use

    Sould be “its”.
    Couldn’t resist.

  4. Think of the vastly overpaid jocks! Won’t someone please think of the vastly overpaid jocks?

  5. joe’s law strikes again.

  6. Screw the athletes and the union bagmen who represent lie for them. Until the drug testing madness stops for us regular joes, it should continue unabated and be enhanced with midnight sampling during the off season. Whether or not a prohibited substance is performance enhancing doesn’t matter, it’s about the children.

    /I heard that the NBA has a clause in their contract which specifically allows cannabis. Is that true?

    //Ricky Williams was not on performance enhancing drugs, unless there’s something about cannabis that the prohibitionistas aren’t telling us.

  7. Ricky Williams’s last suspension was reported at the time as “for a drug not marijuana.”

    I figured maybe he got suspended for using plain old GNC products like everyone else.

  8. “So we’re okay with trusting players to take the risks to their health that come with actually playing football. But we draw the line at letting them use artificial drugs to help them recover more quickly from those injuries. Because that might be dangerous. Or it might benefit players who are using PED’s for non-medical purposes.”

    What about stuff atheletes consume which ain’t naturally available, like creatine and vitamin blends, sleeping in oxygen chambers, tackle boxes full of suppliments (Romonowski)?

    /I am for chemical parity in all endeavors, competitive or recreational.

  9. “I heard that the NBA has a clause in their contract which specifically allows cannabis. Is that true?”

    The NBA doesn’t test for canibis in its drug testing program. It is still technically illegal but not tested for because if it was tested for most of the league including coaches and refs would be come up positive.

    Rambo himself is claiming that HGH is a godsend for those over 40. Everyone assumes it is so bad, but I have yet to see any evidence of that. Also, unlike steroids, it doesn’t throw the game out of whack. It is my understanding HGH just helps you recover from injury. It doesn’t necessarily make you stronger or faster.

  10. What’s with every one on Reason being so pro-steroid? Yeah, congress getting involved is gay, but everyone being on steroids makes the sports totally uninteristing to watch.

  11. Penir

    I don’t think it is “pro-steroid”. I wouldn’t take any steriod or other pharmaceutical drug unless my doctor recommended it.

    What Reasonoids object to is someone telling adults what they may and may not do with their own bodies.

  12. Athletes should only compete with what God gave them. Anything that enhances performance or accelerates recovery should be banned.

    Except for LASIK, Tommy John’s surgery, cortisone, Advil, Gatorade, swing doctoring elbow braces, creatine….

    Ricky Williams was not on performance enhancing drugs, unless there’s something about cannabis that the prohibitionistas aren’t telling us.

    Performance enhancing, no. Although I do find a hit prior to a pick-up game does loosen up my shot.

    It does however reduces muscle spasms. It also helps one mellow out after spending 60 minutes trying avoid decapitation by 11 monsters hopped up on roids and HGH.

  13. People should take what they want without the law getting involved, but the leagues should ban their asses on the first steroid violation, because it makes the game uninteresting. It might make an individual game more exciting, but no one will give a damn enough to follow a freak show for a season, let alone a lifetime, of fanship.

  14. A Clemens vs Bonds at bat is pretty interesting in this sports fan’s book.

    If everyone could do it if they choose to then you would have a level playing field.

  15. A Clemens vs. Bonds is interesting if its 1998. I’d rather watch the WNBA than that at bat if it occurred in the past couple years.

  16. agree with Penir.. “So we’re okay with trusting players to take the risks to their health that come with actually playing football.” Yes. “But we draw the line at letting them use artificial drugs to help them recover more quickly from those injuries.” No, I object to letting on-the-field players use them. One or two freakish superhumans may be willing to take massive amounts of steroids and level “slobber-knocking hits” on everybody else, leaving them to wonder: “should I take steroids in order to compete with these freaks, or to help me recover from the injuries I’m sustaining as a result of being in the same league?” Nobody on this website is saying that Congress should prevent pro athletes from using steroids. Simply that I’m not interested in watching ‘roiders, or I’d turn on WWE. If you let one or two people use steroids, it encourages everybody to do so… obviously.

  17. A Clemens vs. Bonds is interesting if its 1998.

    When they were both probably on the juice.

    Simply that I’m not interested in watching ‘roiders, or I’d turn on WWE.

    If you’ve been watching pro sports in the past 20 years you’ve been watching ‘roiders.

  18. HGH is probably one of the safest and most potent PEDs. Great for old people, recommend you all take it when the levels drop (I will shoot a few IUs)

  19. Whatever… I’ve never injected test but I’m still a young man, I’m 36. Unbelievable. I guess it happens. I didn’t even notice, but I got old.

    Anyway, when I turn 40 I am going to go looking for some hormones. When I was (oh, so recently) a kid I went looking for doses… and I eventually held books… I didn’t care about prohibition then, and I don’t now. I intend to mix testosterone with LSD.

    So… just keeping on keeping on. The government won’t change. But I’ll be buying all that shit on the black market. Fuck da police.

    But.. steroids are about as bad as pot, and Reason ought to acknowledge that… I’m not sure what it takes to say that steroids are dangerous and meth is not, but you seem to have found people who believe that.. drink!

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