After my first trip into the Ravens locker room, I had already came to grips with the fact that I was never blessed with the athletic ability to play football professionally. At 6’0″, 195 pounds, I’m bigger than a few NFL players, but the best shot I ever had at receiving a scholorship in college would have came from playing the wimpiest of all the macho football player positions – placekicker.
The best way to classify NFL players up close and personal is to call them “superhuman man-beasts.”
While Major League Baseball has received the majority of attention over performance enhancing drugs, athletes try to gain an advantage in every professional sport. Former Raiders linebacker Bill Romanowski may take the cake as the most well-known user of steroids during his career, but some players have found a new, and still untested, way to gain an advantage: human growth hormone (HGH).
A very good story came across the inter-webs today via ProFootballTalk. An unnamed NFC starter told Tyler Dunne from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that, “It’s like clockwork nowadays,” referring to HGH use by NFL players.
The player also said, “Not tested and it’s easy to get. Nowadays, dude? In 2013? (Expletive) yeah. I’m just being real.” According to the player, his estimate was that 10-15 players per team use HGH – which is banned in the NFL but currently not being tested.
Two years ago, the NFL and NFLPA agreed to test for HGH, but no actual tests on players have been performed to date. The hangup appears to be with the fact that blood has to be drawn, as opposed to typical urine tests for other banned or illegal substances. Even though the thought of needles doesn’t scare those injecting HGH into their bodies, those players not using the banned substance may have an issue with being pricked like a voodoo doll for testing.
Trypanophobia is the clinical name for those with a fear of needles. It doesn’t matter if you’re an average-sized guy like myself or as big as Bryant McKinnie, needles can make you pass out in a second. In fact, it can even have a delayed reaction (i.e. students getting a TB test to live in college dorms and passing out while walking back to their car in the middle of a parking lot).
How embarrassing…who would ever do that?
/buries head onto keyboard
Without an alternative to drawing blood, players using HGH will continue to go untested. ProFootballTalk made some great points in their story:
“…the NFL doesn’t really want to push the issue. On one hand, the league likely doesn’t want to try to force its players to have their skin pierced with a needle and blood drawn. On the other hand, the league possibly isn’t interested in having those predictions of rampant HGH use come to fruition – or in having the players who use HGH quit cold turkey and suddenly become unable to return from injuries.”
The unnamed player took a stance, saying:
“This is our career. We’re putting on for our fans. HGH isn’t anything. I say…do it…You’re going to get hit hard regardless whether you’re clean or not clean. It’s just a matter of how hard you get hit. I don’t care who’s taking it. A hit is a hit.”
To me, testing for HGH seems like a lose/lose situation. For those players who are clean, regardless of how much money they’re making, being stuck with needles on a consistent basis is unfair, especially for those who have a fear of needles. However, those same players who are clean find themselves at a disadvantage by having to face players who are taking HGH and the possible advantages their opponents will have on them because of the drug.
So, what do the fans think? If this NFL player is telling the truth, does it bother you that up to 30 percent of the league is using HGH? Without knowing for sure that some of your favorite players may or may not be on HGH, would you want them to risk possible injury by having to quit cold turkey?
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