Is Drug Testing Responsible for Wave of Injuries?

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 7, 2009 10:07 AM CDT
Seattle Mariners' Yuniesky Betancourt, center, is helped off the field by trainer Rick Griffin, left, and manager Don Wakamatsu after getting injured against the San Diego Padres, June 24, 2009.   (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
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(Newser) – Major League Baseball is in the midst of an injury epidemic, the New York Times reports, and hurting teams want to know why. Injuries are up 26% from 2006—the Mets alone have lost nearly a quarter of their opening day roster. One potential reason: 2006 is when the league began testing for amphetamines, which players had used for decades to mask pain and fatigue.

Such stimulants make athletes “think their body can do things that it, at times, really can’t,” said one doping expert. Without them “players are realizing they can’t play hurt.” Others theorize that medical imaging advances have diagnosed more problems, or that players don't want to jeopardize their soaring salaries by playing hurt. “I am not convinced that it’s one thing,” said the Dodgers’ medical director. “Anyone who thinks they have the one answer is lying or wrong.”