It seems as though all major professional sports, including golf, baseball and football, want to take a firm stance against the use of Human Growth Hormone usage among their athletes. While it’s not the same as taking steroids or testosterone, there is evidence that HGH does give athletes a slight edge in their performance, which could make all the difference during a race, game or competition. There’s been enough word of mouth and personal success story evidence from athletes who swear that HGH has helped them recover from injury, improve lean muscle mass and get that extra edge that it seems professional sports are rampant with illegal HGH use. Media stories following the fall of golfers, cyclists, and baseball players have been in the news for months. So why does it seem as though finding a solution to the HGH testing question has stumped the NFL, the NBA, and other professional sports leagues and player’s unions ever since the idea of a specific test for HGH was proposed?
The latest sport to be facing HGH testing woes, following on the heels of the NFL’s inability to come to an agreement on HGH testing, is the NBA. NBA Commissioner David Stern, who had hoped to have an HGH testing policy in place before the opening of the 2013/14 season, will not get to see that come about before he leaves his post as commissioner. The league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have had meetings and discussions on the matter of implementing a league-wide HGH testing policy, but have been tripped up in the same area that has caused the NFL testing policy to be delayed two years. At issue for the NBA are questions surrounding the baseline level of HGH that will be acceptable, what disciplinary action will be taken for infractions, and the reliability of the use of blood testing.
Although the NBA has a firmly established a reliable drug testing program, which has been in use since 1983 and covers a list of about 160 drugs, the HGH question is a little trickier because there is no reliable urine test for HGH. Synthetic HGH doesn’t show up in urine tests, so blood testing or the biomarker tests are the only way to test for HGH. Ongoing talks haven’t lead to any real solutions to the HGH testing question, despite the NBA and the NBPA agreeing to a team of experts to analyze the issue and report back as part of the 2011 collective bargaining agreement. The experts have not completed their work, and so it looks as though there will be no agreement on HGH testing in the NBA in the near future, and definitely not for the start of this season.