The NFL and the NFL Players Association have agreed in principle to conduct a population study for human growth hormone (HGH) testing.
This development was cited from an email the NFLPA sent to its players, per Sports Illustrated’s Jim Trotter who says “the study is a precursor to formal HGH testing.”
The email memo, which was also obtained by ESPN senior NFL insider Chris Mortensen, says NFL players will provide blood samples during training camp as part of the population study for HGH. The findings from the blood samples will eventually determine the threshold for a positive test.
The blood samples will be used for this sole purpose, notes Fox Sports’ Mike Garafolo, who referred to a section of the union’s email.
“No other use will be made of any blood sample. After the laboratory has processed all player blood samples, the scientists will perform the calculations and analysis necessary to determine the proper decision limit for NFL players.”
A separate memo from the NFLPA informed its players to be prepared to provide a blood sample in preparation for training camp.
“In preparation for training camp, you should be prepared to provide a sample of blood for your routine and required training camp physical.”
However, some issues still need to be resolved. These include procedure-related ones such as storage of blood samples and how positive tests will be linked to the NFL’s perforrmance-enhancing (PED) drug policy. Trotter writes both sides hope to come to a resolution by week’s end.
Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz says the population study shouldn’t be a big issue.
“I don’t think it’s a big issue. The testing is just to establish baselines. We agreed to testing in the CBA and this is the first step in that process.”
Even with the population study, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter that there will be no HGH-related suspensions in 2013. ESPN also reveals the NFL and NFLPA have put Dr. Alan Rogol in charge of the study.
Supplemental HGH is difficult to detect and is believed to be used by some players to gain certain advantages which include increasing speed and improving vision. However, some of the health issues associated with it include diabetes, cardiac dysfunction and arthritis.