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NFLPA and NFL Continuing to Develop HGH Testing Protocols, Could This Aid the Concussion Problem in the Future?

June 4th, 2013 at 3:00 PM
By Daniel Werly

Written by John Leppler:

The NFL and the NFLPA continue to negotiate towards human growth hormone testing in place for the 2013 season. Although there is a significant impasse, one union source said the issue now is that the league’s proposal calls for testing to begin immediately. The samples would then be tested and results would be stored, until WADA comes up with the baseline standard for acceptable levels.  The NFL and NFLPA are in negotiations and the league is waiting to hear from the union regarding its recent proposal on HGH testing. Something that has not been addressed is the impact HGH testing may have on the current concussion issue in the NFL. 

Professional Football has evolved from one being average sized men, from around 150 to 190 pounds, hitting each other with little equipment. Most players in the past, due to the low salaries, held full time employment positions besides participating in professional football games. Currently, as everyone knows, Professional Football is a full time profession. The athletes are training several hours a day, all year round, and the average weights of the players at all positions have skyrocketed. It has become the norm for Offensive Lineman to exceed 300 pounds, and Ball Carriers running out of the backfield at 225 pounds-all muscle. 

Let it be noted that strength training, conditioning, have all developed into separate industries of their own. Each of the industries providing new things tailored to improve the football players’ performance. However, one other industry through developing professional football has come about; that being Human Growth Hormone and other performance enhancing substances. These substances allow the players to train harder and longer, and become heavier while simultaneously loosing body fat. If a player is training and pushes himself to improve performance, the HGH and Performance-Enhancing Drugs, or PEDs, will allow getting bigger and strong, outside of the athlete’s predetermined genetic make-up. 

Besides the intense training the professional football players now endure, football equipment has improved to a level where players can essentially ‘launch’ their entire bodies into other players when needed during a game. When professional football began, players only wore leather helmets without face masks, and no padding over their body. Now players are fully protected from head to toe, with a helmet that includes face protection. It is common for players to run full speed at a player to initiate contact, and explosively collide with the player when going for a tackle or if the player is a ball carrier, to ‘bulldoze’ through a defenseman. 

These types of collisions will always occur with the current equipment in the game, however HGH testing can disallow players to get abnormally large, outside of their genetic make-up and continue to play the game. As an example, consider a ‘glory days’ football player running at you weighing 165 pounds, average body fat (so there is an average muscle to fat ratio) at around a 5.0 second 40-yard dash time. Contrarily, consider a 235 pound player with little body fat (in the single digits so far more muscle than fat on his body) running at you with a 4.5 second 40-yard dash time. The second individual is 70 pounds heavier than the first player and also bigger, stronger, has a denser body mass, and faster. The player that will give the more vicious and injurious blow should be obvious, Moreover, I do not have the empirical data on hand, but I will provide a link to the average size of NFL players at each position from the glory days to the present. It is assuring these players cannot get this big, strong, and fast without HGH and PEDs to push past a genetic threshold. The majority of contact in the NFL is initiated head first—this is how coaches teach players to initiate in-game contact. If drug testing is implemented immediately, it will ensure that average size and regular athletes who train will be giving and taking punishing blows on the football fields as opposed to, what has once been said, chemically enhanced beasts on the gridiron. Although it will not fully get rid of the concussion issue, which will never go away, but significantly reduce NFL concussions in the future. 

Tags: concussion, HGH, Law, NFLPA, Sports, Sports Law

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