September 28, 2020

Steroids and Football

Articles about the use of anabolic steroids, human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs in American football

Steroids Not a Scapegoat for Rhabdomyolysis at University of Iowa

The media’s knee-jerk reaction was to blame dietary supplements and/or anabolic steroids for the highly unusual cluster of rhabdomyolsis cases recently affecting the University of Iowa Hawkeye football program. “You have muscle breakdown from intense workouts. You have dehydration and then supplements which are nephrotoxic are damaging to the kidneys directly. That’s a perfect storm for kidney failure,” according to Dr. James Williams, of the St. Joseph Medical Center. While a dietary supplement would be a convenient scapegoat, evidence has yet to surface that suggests creatine or any other supplement is responsible.

Anabolic steroids are unlikely to be a scapegoat. Dr. Richard Auchus, an expert on steroid biosynthesis at UT Southwestern Medical School, summarily dismissed the connection between the muscle disorder and performance-enhancer drugs such as anabolic steroids and human growth hormone while suggesting recreational drugs as one possible culprit. “You don’t see rhabdomyolysis with anabolic steroid use or growth hormones. You can see rhabdo with GHB. It’s is one of those recreational drugs that can cause this,” according to the consultant to the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). [Read more…]

Waterloo Steroid Scandal Punishes Innocent Football Players

Two former University of Waterloo football players who transferred to another college in order to fulfill their dreams of playing college football were denied eligibility. The former Warrior football players had to seek another college football program after the Waterloo Warrior program was shut down for a year after a steroid investigation.  The harsh sentence for the football team has been criticized for punishing innocent players who were not involved in doping. [Read more…]

Steroid Testing in the NFL is a Failure

A new report suggest that while the NFL’s Policy on Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances is a public relations success, its effectiveness at actually reducing steroid use among football players may be a failure. The Wall Street Journal recounts an incident last week where a reporter observed a player receiving advance notice of a steroid test from the team’s head trainer. Doping flourishes in sports like cycling and track and field which are subject to the most rigorous drug-testing standards presented by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Other sports, such as NFL and MLB, have much more lax anti-doping rules.Anti-doping experts feel that the NFL might as well abandon drug testing if they are going to give advance notice to players. [Read more…]

Football Player Who Initiated Waterloo Football Steroid Scandal Avoids Jail

The former University of Waterloo football player that committed the crime “that ultimately brought down his former team in a steroid scandal that made international headlines” was sentenced to a 9-month conditional sentence of house arrest. Eric Legare was linked to several burglaries of private residences and pleaded guilty to breaking into a commercial business. However, he became notorious for his indirect connection to the steroid scandal at University of Waterloo that resulted in a one-year suspension of the entire Waterloo football program. [Read more…]

Canadian Football League – Summer Camp for Violators of NFL Steroid Policy

The Canadian Football League (CFL) is the only professional sporting league in North America that has not yet implemented steroid testing for its football players. Former WADA chief Dick Pound had previously called the CFL a “summer camp” for NFL players suspended for violations of the NFL policy on anabolic steroids and related substances [Read more…]

NFL Knowledge of Bumetanide-Spiked Supplement Exposed Players to Significant Health Risks

The National Football League apparently is willing to jeopardize the health of its players in a misguided effort to catch athletes who use banned performance enhancing subtances. John Lombardo, M.D., the administrator and medical advisor to the NFL Policy regarding Anabolic Steroids and Related Substances allegedly knew that the dietary supplement StarCaps were contaminated with bumetanide as early as 2006. Bumetanide is a powerful prescription diuretic found in StarCaps but not disclosed by the manufacturer. Yet, he failed to notify any NFL teams about the discovery to prevent athletes from using StarCaps as an explanation for a positive bumetanide test result exposing NFL players to significant health risks that could have easily been prevented by responsible concern for players’ health and well-being as the primary objective. [Read more…]

Don Catlin Believes NFL Bumetanide Positives Result of Tainted Supplements

Anti-doping expert Don Catlin believes the numerous NFL players who tested positive for the diuretic butemanide may have unknowingly used dietary supplements tainted with the drug.  (“Alleged use of old-school drug surprises experts,” October 29).

“I’d love to know,” said Don Catlin, a renowned expert who ran America’s first anti-doping lab. “But that’s why the first thing I thought was, ‘They take supplements all the time. Every athlete does. Maybe it’s a bad batch of supplements.'”

We reported previously at Catlin’s bewilderment at the intentional use of butemanide by NFL players as a masking agent for anabolic steroids. There were several plausible indicators that a contaminated supplement could have been the culprit. Experts are indeed baffled by the presence of an old and dangerous drug in anti-doping samples.

Diuretic Bumetanide Used by NFL Players to Mask Anabolic Steroid Use?

Four of the eight NFL football players whose names were “leaked” as having violated the league’s policy on anabolic steroids and related substances were caught using the diuretic Bumex (bumetanide). New Orleans Saints running back Deuce McAllister and defensive ends Will Smith and Charles Grant tested positive for bumetanide as did Houston Texans deep snapper Bryan Pittman.

Reports of a “rash of positive steroid tests” in the NFL by news websites here and here and here and here are highly misleading and false since none of the players are alleged to have tested positive for steroids by the NFL. Nonetheless, MSNBC stated that one player tested positive for anabolic steroids with the headline “Report: Saints’ McAllister positive for steroids“, but deep in the article reported the truth that it was bumetanide. There are even plausible indications these may have involved inadvertent doping from weight loss supplements tainted with bumetanide.

[Read more…]

Football Player Sues Supplement Company for Undeclared Steroidal Ingredient

No sooner than I finished writing an article critical of the supplement industry does a professional football player file a lawsuit against a supplement company for containing steroids in their supplements (due to either contamination or intentional “spiking” of the ingredients). It gives me no pleasure to write this story because the defendant is a friend of mine.

Former NFL running back Femi Ayanbadejo has filed a lawsuit against Author L. Rea of ALR Industries. He claims an undisclosed ingredient in ALRI Max LMG caused him to fail an NFL doping test leading to his release by the Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears. Ayanbadejo tested positive for a “form of nandrolone.” Ayanbadejo’s attorney is blaming the positive steroid test on the manufacturer for possibly intentionally “spiking” the supplement with banned substances or contamination from the manufacturing facility.

I have not had a chance to review legal documents in the case. The owner of ALR Industries did not seem to be aware of the lawsuit and could not provide me with any insight into the case.

But on the surface, I’m not sure it has merit from a legal standpoint. [Read more…]

Gatorade a Gateway to Anabolic Steroid Use in High School Athletes?

Many people believe that dietary supplements, specifically sports nutrition supplements, are a “gateway” to anabolic steroid use. It is the steroid war’s version of the “gateway drug theory.” While I agree that teenagers should not be permitted to purchase or use stimulants and steroids sold as dietary supplements, I do not subscribe to the “supplements as a gateway to steroids” theory.

 Chris Connolly, the head football coach and athletic director of Dolgeville High School in Dolgeville, New York, has taken the gateway theory, as it applies to suppplements, to the extreme. [Read more…]