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MLBPA releases its statement on HGH testing

Feb 25, 2010, 7:57 AM EDT

HGH.jpgThe entire statement can be read here.  The relevant part in my mind:

This week, a British rugby player was suspended as a result of a
reported positive blood test for HGH.   This development warrants
investigation and scrutiny; we already have conferred with our experts
on this matter, and with the Commissioner’s Office, and we immediately
began gathering additional information.  However, a report of a single
uncontested positive does not scientifically validate a drug test.  As
press reports have suggested, there remains substantial debate in the
testing community about the scientific validity of blood testing for
HGH.   And, as we understand it, even those who vouch for the
scientific validity of this test acknowledge that it can detect use
only 18-36 hours prior to collection.

Putting these important issues aside, inherent in blood testing of
athletes are concerns of health, safety, fairness and competition not
associated with urine testing.  We have conferred initially with the
Commissioner’s Office about this reported positive test, as we do
regarding any development in this area.  We look forward to continuing
to jointly explore all questions associated with this testing — its
scientific validity, its effectiveness in deterring use, its
availability and the significant complications associated with blood
testing, among others.

This pretty much tracks my thinking from yesterday.  Jumping in with both feet now, based on the rugby player’s test would be an exercise in PR, not a reasoned implementation of expanded PED testing.

To the extent there’s a line in the sand here, it’s that the union seems unwilling to accept blood testing of any kind, instead wanting to wait for a urine test.  I know that no urine test exists for HGH. The key question here is whether that’s the case simply because one hasn’t been developed yet or if there is some physiological reason why there can never be a urine test (Rays Fan — any insight here?).

Either way, I expect someone to spin the blood/urine test as the union being intransigent.  To those who do, I ask whether or not their employer tests their blood on a routine basis, and if not, how they would feel about it if they suddenly began to do so.

  1. Gohare - Feb 25, 2010 at 8:05 AM

    It is also worth remembering that the positive test for the rugby player did not come from random testing. It was a targeted test based on intelligence.

  2. Jonny5 - Feb 25, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    I don’t think I’d like a blood test myself. I think they need to either find a way to do a prick or urine test. Honestly, this does appear to be a hasty response to public opinion on PED’s. Not that testing isn’t needed, It just should be better before implementing it.

  3. Jonny5 - Feb 25, 2010 at 8:43 AM

    Yes Craig, you did a wonderful job of changing my mind on this topic.

  4. AlexO - Feb 25, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    I don’t think the hypothetical question asked at the end of your post is quite fair. I would guess that most readers are not employed in an occupation that involves physical competition against others in order to achieve success. And for those that are, I would also guess that they, at the very least, might be open to considering it (assuming they’re clean themselves, of course).

  5. jthewolfe - Feb 25, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    hGH is a fairly large protein. it would not come out in your urine, nor would any other protein unless you have some kind of kidney problem, like diabetes. and if your diabetes were that bad, you wouldn’t be a pro athlete.
    so the only way to test for it is in the blood, where i imagine it is fairly quickly degraded, just like, say, insulin, another protein hormone.
    i also don’t think there is a way to distinguish your own GH from GH that you have ingested from a vial- depends on how the synthetic stuff is made and processed. so really all they probably have to go on is total blood levels, which will vary by individual. an abnormally high result could point to guilt, but you’d have to use very regularly or be very unlucky to get caught in that kind of test.

  6. P1 - Feb 25, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    Pay me the MLB league minimum and you can test any bodily fluid you want.

  7. Josh Prevo - Feb 25, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you. :)

  8. franchises for sale - Feb 25, 2010 at 9:26 PM

    Hey, great blog…I’ll add your site in my rss reader, if I can figure out how to get it to work…LOL :)

  9. Rays fan - Feb 25, 2010 at 10:42 PM

    Craig, jthewolfe hit it on the head quite nicely.

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