Thursday, September 07, 2006

Jansen just grows on you

Jon Jansen made the news yesterday with an eye-opening comment that 10% to 15% of pro football players used human growth hormones to enhance their performance. He backed off those numbers today. "Being a football player, I'm not real good at math." (Well, he went to Michigan.) Jansen said he intended to convey that he heard that a small number of players were using.

Human Growth Hormone, when used in athletics, is supposed to boost muscle growth. It's attractive to some athletes and body builders for two reasons. First, it kick-starts growth for athletes whose performance has peaked while on steroids. Second, there are no known methods for detecting use. For more detail, see Growth hormone treatment for bodybuilding at Wikipedia.

Ex-Redskin Brian Mitchell, on his WTEM radio show today, poo-pooed the effectiveness of growth hormone and steroids. "I've seen many of them come and go," said B-Mitch, "but I never saw steroids boost talent." OK, but it does seem to give an artificial boost to whatever you have. If you are already big, steriods can make you bigger. If you are fast, it can make you faster. If you can hit singles, with steriods you can hit homers.

It's alleged that some major league pitchers, Jansen's 10% to 15% maybe, use human growth hormones. No one knows for sure, but if true, it makes steroid use by hitters almost defensible. Athletic performance should be the result of natural ability enhanced by hard work. That is the highest form of physical endeavor. Altering oneself synthetically is gaming the system. Maybe it's a generational thing where some athletes think it's alright because everybody else is (allegedly) doing it.

Enough preaching.


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