The NFL is the last major American sports league that does not current test players for human growth hormone. That could be changing soon as the league and the NFLPA move closer to a deal on testing. The players union notified agents on Monday that team would be collecting blood samples as part of a HGH population study.
Conducting a population study is the first step in reaching an agreement for testing. The purpose of the test is to determine what constitutes normal levels of the hormone are found naturally in the specific population of players. With that information, the two sides can determine a threshold for a positive test.
Players will have blood samples collected as part of their camp physicals for the population study. The blood samples will only be used for the HGH study.
Jason LaCanfora of CBS Sports posted a copy of the memo sent to agents. It reads:
Dear Contract Advisor:
The following memo was recently sent to NFLPA player leadership regarding hGH population study. If you have any questions, please contact Heather McPhee in the Legal Department. Thank you.
TO: NFLPA Membership
RE: HGH Population Study
The NFLPA and NFL have agreed to conduct a population study of NFL players for human growth hormone (hGH) to determine the proper decision limit for a positive test under the NFL/NFLPA Performance Enhancing Substances drug policy. Dr. Alan Rogol, M.D., Ph.D has been jointly hired by the NFLPA and NFL to oversee the study and supervise two jointly retained biostatisticians. One biostatistician, Donald Berry, Ph.D., will design the study protocol and conduct the analysis, and a second biostatistician will independently review both the protocol and the analysis. This is the scientific analysis to determine the appropriate decision limits for our Members that we have insisted upon since the signing of the CBA.
Every player will provide a blood sample for the population study during the pre-season training camp physicals. The blood sample from each player will immediately be sent to the laboratory for analysis only for the purpose of the hGH population study; no other use will be made of any blood sample. After the laboratory has processed all player blood samples, the scientists will perform the calculations and analysis necessary to determine the proper decision limit for NFL players.
There are, however, several additional issues which must be collectively bargained to agreement before final implementation of the hGH and Performance Enhancing Substances drug policy. One of those issues is the issue of discipline. The parties continue to discuss the issue and when a final proposal is reached, we will bring it to you for your review and vote.