Tuesday, February 12, 2008

HGH: Useless

The evidence continues to mount that Human Growth Hormone has no performance enhancing effect on athletes. Will the media finally stop bitching about it? Only if misguided, self-righteous tirades stop selling newspapers!

(As is increasingly the case, hat tip to BBTF.)


D.Cous. said...

Question: Would this exonerate a player who used it, believing it to have a performance-enhancing effect?

I should think not.

On the other hand, if said hypothetical player knew that it wouldn't increase his performance per se, but that it might help recover from injury, would his use still constitute cheating? My first impulse would be to say yes, as the stuff, whatever it does or doesn't do, is banned by the sport. Am I wrong?

I'm curious what your opinion here might be.

John Lynch said...

Yeah, if a substance is banned (which is to say, banned explicitly as a performance enhancer not because it is a controlled substance), it constitutes cheating, regardless of whether or not it actually increases performance.

Now, the question of whether or not it should be banned as a performance enhancer is different.

For example, plenty of players took amphetamines, which are illegal, but we don't consider that cheating because they weren't banned as performance enhancers. Same with baseball's cocaine problem in the 1980's (yes, I know, cocaine in the 80's... somehow not shocking).

Should HGH be relegated to a substance that is banned simply because it is illegal? I think so. I do not think that HGH use at this time warrants the stigma and penalties associated with steroids.

With respect to recovery from injury, again, it should be allowed if prescribed by a physician. I fail to see how taking a drug to recover from injury is different than surgery.