The NFL Players Association has agreed to an HGH population study, and has sent the proposal to the NFL to be finalized, according to Mike Garafolo of FOX Sports. The study will collect blood samples from every player in the NFL during training camp to establish benchmarks for positive and negative test results. The NFL and NFLPA had agreed to the study in principle prior to training camp.
According to Garafolo, the study is a first step to extensive testing for human growth hormone in NFL players. Currently, Major League Baseball is the only professional American sports league that tests for HGH. MLB did not undertake a population study before implementing testing protocols, however, potentially making the NFL's study instructive for other sports leagues.
The study could also establish protocol for how testing is administered if/when the practice becomes commonplace in the NFL, according to NFL.com's Albert Breer. The fact that the NFL and NFLPA have seemingly agreed on a protocol for the study suggests that the two sides agree on how sample collection, destruction and transport will be handled in the future.
The proposal that the NFLPA has submitted to the NFL stipulates that results of the study cannot be used retroactively to punish players, according to Garafolo. The NFL offered no comment when asked for a timetable to finalize the study.
Comprehensive testing may still be a long way away, with more negotiations set to happen between the NFL and NFLPA. According to Breer, 2013 testing remains a goal.