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Ryan Madson should be allowed to take HGH

Jun 13, 2013, 3:08 PM EDT

Ryan Madson AP AP

We linked this story the other day with respect to the unfortunate health situation of Ryan Madson. But there was another part of it that caught Deadspin’s eyes, and they wrote a substantial post about it today. It was Ryan Madson legitimately wondering how things might be different if he were allowed to pursue the same medical options that you, me and your momma are allowed to:

“If HGH were legal,” Madson said, “just in the process of healing, under a doctor’s recommendation, in the right dosage, while you’re on the [disabled list], I don’t think that’s such a bad idea — as long as it doesn’t have any lasting side effects, negative side effects.”

He said he wouldn’t do it or even discuss it now because of MLB’s rules, but:

“I will still believe, even if I get healthy without that that it should be legal, in the right dosage, under supervision, with doctors, for the only purposes to help heal and get players back in the Major Leagues. Because people want to watch them, because of their talents, just to get them back on the field to play. That’s it. I think it would be good for the game; I think it would be good for the fans. Fans want to see the best players play, and they want to see the players that they watch come back from injury and stay back. I think it would be a good thing.”

Hard to see what the harm would be in that. Any other drug or medical procedure that a physician prescribes, performs or supervises is OK, so why not HGH? Assuming, of course, a legitimate physician would use it for what Madson’s ailments. At the moment, though, Madson and his doctors can’t even explore the possibility.

Imagine a world where baseball banned LASIK, arthroscopic surgery, antibiotics or other medical procedures that help players get better. Crazy, right? They’re doing that with a lot of substances now. I hope that, as the science gets better and more specific and useful applications of drugs and procedures now on the banned list become more useful and commonplace, baseball opens its mind about them.

  1. chill1184 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:14 PM

    Certainly is an interesting debate that should be had

    • evanwins - Jun 14, 2013 at 12:41 AM

      No doubt. You can add this to the list of things that have the possibility of being great for the game (instant replay), can be figured out (so it works as intended), and MLB does nothing about.

      I really hope a competent new commissioner takes over and earns his pay and figures some of this stuff out.

      Meanwhile, Madson’s case is amazing; He has made nearly $10 million over the past 2 years on 2 different deals for 2 different teams and hasn’t pitched for either of them. He hasn’t pitched since 2011 for the Phillies and I remember the furor over letting him walk from them as opposed to signing him to a multi year deal. Amaro looks good on this one at least although I’m sure its just luck.

  2. braddavery - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:17 PM

    A pro-PED post by Craig? No way. Who’d a thought.

    • drewsylvania - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:36 PM

      It’s not really pro-PED, but it sure doesn’t help his case against people who think he is.

      What’s your actual stance on players using PEDs, Craig?

      My own stance is that a) MLB is engaged in a game of hypocrisy, and b) players should be allowed to use whatever doesn’t have life-threatening side effects.

  3. yahmule - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    I would say yes for Madsen’s sake, but Craig will use it as an excuse to shove us all down a slippery slope, so I vote no.

    Okay, yes.

  4. philliesblow - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:18 PM

    Under a doctor’s supervision players often get cortisone shots to let them play, why would this be any different? As long a doctor is registered in some way with MLB, this would be a great thing.

    • beebopthearcher - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:31 PM

      Because this is HGH. Duh! There’s a big difference. For one…umm….er…uhh….Hey! I think my phone is ringing. Talk to you later!

  5. mdpickles - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:22 PM

    Riiiiigght. Then every ballplayer will have a doctor sign off their patients diagnosing them with some issue that requires HGH to fix. Diagnosis for Sammy Sosa: Fatigue. HGH approved. Ryan Madson doesn’t get it and he has now exposed himself to being a possible cheater in years past.

    • yahmule - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:41 PM

      Just because that worked for medical marijuana doesn’t mean it will apply here.

    • rbj1 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:42 PM

      Well just look at the number of players who’ve been diagnosed with ADD and so get Adderol. I’m fine with it for the healing process.

    • jm91rs - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:34 PM

      But what if the player had to be on the 60 day DL to get the pass from MLB? Players like Madson that are seriously hurt wouldn’t have a problem, and players trying to gain an unfair advantage would never want to wind up on the 60 day DL just for the slight healing help HGH gives.

  6. duckthefodgers - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Then why do people keep saying we should hate Pettitte for using HGH and he should be treated like A-Rod?

    • Craig Calcaterra - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      I don’t say that. I don’t think we should hate any of them or treat any of them like A-Rod is treated. I do, however, note the disparate treatment they receive.

  7. beebopthearcher - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:29 PM

    Ridiculous! He should absolutely not be allowed to take HGH. That’s cheating the very nature of the game and is completely unnatural!

    That’s why I’m also against any surgery, lasik eye surgery…and fuck it, eye glasses are cheating too. I mean, “naturally” they’re eyesight sucks. I know it sounds extreme, but otherwise I’d just be a hypocritical asshole.

    • oralization - Jun 18, 2013 at 11:32 AM

      Wearing glasses in full view of eveyone who can see is cheating why not just do Lasik and nobody would know you’re cheating.

  8. cur68 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    Healing Apologist!

    Seriously, why not use it therapeutically? HGH has been demonstrated to be a performance non-enhancer. If anything, it seems to detract from performance. However its uses as a healing agent are well documented, both in animal and human studies. In fact, there are a few clinicians out there that recommend it for joint surgery recovery. Its use isn’t recommended for ALL joint injury/surgery, but it DOES have a measurable effect in the right situation (closed fracture recovery, for instance).

    As a performance enhancer, though? Not so much.

    • badintent - Jun 14, 2013 at 2:14 AM

      At a certain ex-Gold Gym, I ‘ve seen both large amounts of folks take roids and others take HGH. Roids get big , real big and real fast. HGH takers get a little bigger and much more ripped but take longer.HGH can enlarge your heart and or organs over time.How long is still anyone’s guess. I do know one ex -tennis pro that did take HGH for healing after major knee surgery. The surgery failed to restore his knee to a level for renewing his tennis career.In my mind , the jury ‘s still out on HGH.There is serious medical research ongoing for HGH, if the dangerous side effects can be weaned out , it may prove to be a great medical option for future generations.

      • pauleee - Jun 14, 2013 at 10:40 AM

        The difference between “use” and “abuse”.

  9. oregonbravesfan - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:30 PM

    What about some sort of treatment review panel of MLB contracted doctors who review a player’s use of HGH during recovery.

    Maybe set it up so that no one on the active roster or assigned to the minor leagues on a rehab assignment would be allowed to continue to use, but only those that are truly physically unable to play would have this option.

  10. djpostl - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:32 PM

    As much as teams invest in guys I think HGH should be perfectly legal under the rules of baseball. Whatever helps them get back on the field as soon as possible is just fine by me.

  11. 18thstreet - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:35 PM

    Suffice it to say we have a very complicated relationship with drugs in this country. Hypocrisies about and the Republic somehow survives.

  12. zacksdad - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:39 PM

    The problem is first the article is from Craig. Second if allowed it would be used to skirt the rules. Football has that issue with the anti-anxiety drub. About 25% of them have it legally prescribed, yet probably less than 5% of normal people use it.

    • klingonj - Jun 13, 2013 at 8:24 PM

      whats your basis of estimate on 5%? if its anecdotal , then everyones knows half of this country is on some sort of medication, so the NFL uses it less than half………………..

  13. chc4 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    Not a surprising take by Craig. I’m guessing you would recommend MLB hire a panel of doctors (at MLB owners expense of course) to evaluate whether individual players should be allowed to take PEDs. Which will give rise to all kinds of cockamamey ailments which the MLBPA will fully support. Utterly ridiculous.

    • jwbiii - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:10 PM

      That panel already exists. It’s in the Joint Drug Agreement, Section 1.G Medical Advisory Panel.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:10 PM

      What would be the problem of having more players more available to play? If all the best players could play 150+ games a year, how would this be a bad thing?

      • chc4 - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:38 PM

        So nothing should be illegal… amphetamines, PEDs, whatever? And then when the first players ODs or gets sick, they sue MLB claiming they should’ve known the stuff could be abused. Yeah, great idea ya got there.

        And by the way the players association agreed that PED’s are outlawed. They signed the CBA on the dotted line. There is not recourse.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:54 PM

        So nothing should be illegal… amphetamines, PEDs, whatever?

        It’s becoming more and more clear why many of you think Craig is a PED-apologist, y’all simply can’t read. I never said make everything legal, I simply asked what’s wrong with allowing something that A, shows no benefit to healthy players, and B, helps injured players get back on the field faster. Answer that question, or not. Don’t make some shit up about something I never said.

        And then when the first players ODs or gets sick, they sue MLB claiming they should’ve known the stuff could be abused.

        Maybe I should have spelled it out, but considering the content of the post I thought it was assumed. I’m referring to taking this stuff under the supervision of a doctor. However, what about personal responsibility? I know it’s a novel idea, but how about acting like an adult and being responsible for the shit you do to yourself?

        And by the way the players association agreed that PED’s are outlawed. They signed the CBA on the dotted line. There is not recourse.

        And some people say cucumbers taste better pickled (Dave Chappelle). What does this have to do with anything I said?

  14. yahmule - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:45 PM

    AAAA ballplayer: Give it to me straight, doc.

    Doctor: Son, I’m afraid you have warning track power.

    AAAA ballplayer: Oh God…is there anything we can do?

    Doctor: Well…

  15. cocheese000 - Jun 13, 2013 at 3:59 PM

    How about giving players with low testosterone TRT. The UFC allows fighters to use TRT.

  16. jm91rs - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:27 PM

    I wish they would ban lasik. Chris Sabo was stylin’ in those RecSpecs, can’t someone else give them a shot?

  17. kevinbnyc - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:28 PM

    It has been previously noted that MLB players are prescribed Adderol at rates far higher than the rest of the country. That is under the supervision of a doctor, and presumably they are taking the recommended dosage.

  18. jm91rs - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:31 PM

    I say if you’re going to allow it, there needs to be an MLB board with Union approved docs on it to decide who gets a pass on HGH and who does not. And there should be some sort of “penalty” for using it to prevent misuse, like the player can only use it if he’s on the 60 day DL. No one would use it for fake injuries if it meant they had to be on the 60 day DL during recovery.

    • captainloaded - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:40 PM

      Agreed, I was just thinking about the possible abuse of “prescribed treatment” by just any doctor.

  19. yousuxxors - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:49 PM

    I’ve been saying this for years that they should be used in all sports for healing purposes. no one wants to see their favorite players career end because bad injuries. HGH has been proven by science to be pretty useless unless I missed a study. anabolic steroids on the other hand would be perfect for healing tears. doctors prescribe steroids now to people after surgery.

  20. losanginsight - Jun 13, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I wonder what past his prime player Jerry Dipoto will throw money at this offseason after another 3rd place finish.

  21. gerryb323 - Jun 13, 2013 at 5:28 PM

    What prevents HGH from falling under the Theraputic Use Exeption?

  22. datdangdrewdundunituhgin - Jun 13, 2013 at 6:09 PM

    as someone else has said, with all the money being invested in long-term contracts to guys with prior (and longview) health concerns, i don’t see how this is a bad thing. there is science in HGH helping a person heal. there is NO science (yet) that HGH can help you hit or throw a baseball better. not really sure what the problem is besides 20 years of dogma being pressed by sports writers who probably benefit from the usage of some medication to help them with – arthritis, fatigue, mental clarity etc. in order to perform their job at a high level. yet i don’t see anyone coming out of the blue to nail drew sharp on his marijuana habits or tj simers on his pain medication habits.

    anyways, i’m just saying it’s unfortunate this discussion won’t get a fair debate until some of the fog from the previous decade wanes. and don’t talk about my momma like that.

  23. shawon0meter - Jun 13, 2013 at 7:45 PM

    He’s made tens of millions of dollars. If it’s that important to you, retire and take HGH or deal with it.

  24. laserrocketarm31 - Jun 13, 2013 at 9:02 PM

    HGH is a legitimate medication that is legal to use with a doctor’s prescription. The same goes for testosterone, if someone has hypogonadism they must be allowed to take the proper medication. The fact that HGH is banned in the first place is a joke. Why is MLB banning the latest and greatest medical science has to offer? Just like Craig said if they can ban HGH they can ban anything. Analogically I see no difference in the role of antibiotics or surgery compared to HGH. Preventing a player from taking something their doctor has prescribed should be illegal. MLB has no right to get involved in modern medicine and I wish one player would actually sue to put an end to this nonsense.

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