The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee today distributed a press release and a new video – “HGH: Why Should Football Fans Care?” – underscoring the growing risk human growth hormone (HGH) abuse poses to the health and safety of players and the young fans emulating them.
According to the committee’s press release:
“On December 12, 2012, former NFL star Dick Butkus and four experts testified on the troubling increase in HGH abuse by football players of all ages, examining the science behind testing for this performance-enhancing drug (PED) and what all stakeholders can do to protect player health, promote the fair play fans deserve and preserve the future of football in America. Since leaving football, Mr. Butkus has been at the forefront of efforts to eliminate dangerous and unfair PEDs from all levels of the game.”
“The most important thing in cleaning up professional sports is, in fact, the trickle-down effect into college and into high school,” said Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) in the video. “Because when young people take illicit drugs hoping to get into the pros, they often destroy their lives long before they ever get there.”
“I believe [American football fans] should want to know that the games that they watch are fair,” said Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD).
“There’s nothing better than watching football on a Sunday afternoon, but you want to make sure also that all the players are on the same even playing field,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). “Now that the science is catching up, we can do the testing, make sure everybody is on the same even playing field and I think continue to enjoy the NFL.”
“People, they believe in that too,” added Mr. Butkus. “They’d like to see players doing their best naturally…Today, we have about 400,000 teens who report they have experimented with performance enhancing drugs, many in middle school. And 1/3 are young women.”
Key Oversight Hearing Moments:
Question: “Is there a chance that we will get a false positive on the margin, on a football player if we begin testing all of them?” – Chairman Issa
- Answer: “No test is perfect, but again in the 1,400 tests that we’ve done at USADA, there hasn’t been a single false positive test, so the odds are extraordinarily low.” – Dr. Bowers
Question: “My understanding of the contract is that there’s an appeal process, union protection if, in fact, somebody claims to have a false positive. You’ve looked at other athletes and so on – Are the protections, in your opinion, sufficient if there is an accusation of a false positive?” – Chairman Issa
- Answer: “Yes, I think the adjudication process is the appropriate place to discuss a particular test result, and there’s opportunity to deal with the issues there.” – Dr. Bowers
Question: “As a practicing physician, I think we’re overlooking the source of the problem. To my knowledge, HGH is not something you can get at GNC. Why is this so readily accessible and who are the doctors who are providing this for the wrong reasons and why is the punishment not starting there?” – Dr. DesJarlais
- Answer: “Many of the kids who both get HGH or think they’re getting HGH or anti-bolic steroids get them from the internet. If you put in “buy HGH” or “buy steroids,” you can get many, many, thousands and thousands of hits. You can send away for vials of steroids or human growth hormone. Whether they are, in reality, human growth hormone or steroids is questionable. They’ve been looked at. Many of them are phony, but from Eastern Europe you can get those. They’re readily available.” – Dr. Goldberg
- “Without a doctor’s prescription or do they forge them?” –Dr. DesJarlais
- “Without a doctor’s prescription.” – Dr. Goldberg