Growth Hormone Test Added to NFL Deal
HGH can give the perception of improved speed, vision
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 5, 2011 9:56 AM CDT
St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnuolo, second from right, talks with free agents at the start of practice during NFL football training Thursday, Aug. 4, 2011, in St. Louis.   (Jeff Roberson)
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(Newser) – The NFL officially is back in business, collective bargaining agreement and all. That 4 1/2-month lockout? A thing of the past in every way. All those players with new contracts who had to sit out practice for a few days? They hit the field with all of their teammates yesterday shortly after word spread that football finally had a completely done deal. But the new, 10-year CBA allows the NFL to eventually become the first major US professional sports league to use blood testing for human growth hormone, two insiders tell the AP.

Preventing athletes from using HGH is considered a key target in the anti-doping movement. The substance is hard to detect, and athletes are believed to choose HGH for a variety of benefits, whether they be real or only perceived—including increasing speed and improving vision. Players would be subject to random testing for HGH, in addition to annual checks, but a World Anti-Doping agency leader will believe it when he sees the fine print. "You can get a sound bite out of saying the NFL and NFLPA have adopted a blood-testing policy. But the devil's in the details," he said. "The rest of the story might be equivalent to having no testing at all."