As part of the new 10-year collective bargaining agreement, the National Football League (NFL) will continue to administer drug testing for human growth hormone on players for at least once a year and probably more when necessary.
The test will require the players to submit a blood sample which makes the NFL be the first ever football league to conduct blood testing for steroids
and HGH at the major league level. Unlike, their previous drug testing, this season, they will be conducting a drug test on game days.
According to the league spokesman Greg Aiello, the athletes can be tested for steroids and HGH up to six times during the offseason. Birch also added that there will be “random drug testing throughout the rest of the season, for which players would be chosen based on computer draw” and blood testing during combines and based on reasonable cause.
On the other hand, the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA
) asserts that it is an advantage for the league to conduct drug testing
on game days. That is to clear out their reputation and win the game with clean athletes by being drug-free. According to WADA director David Howman, athletes are using HGH for years to increase performance, but the HGH testing is a “significant step in the fight against doping in sports because there is just not that much blood testing done in the world.”
WADA has been conducting drug testing
since 2004. Under WADA rules, athletes are subject to an unlimited number of urine and blood test for a panel of drugs. The tests should be conducted in and out of the competition and are given without prior notice. Drug testing will basically test for the presence of drug metabolites in the body by surrendering a sample of urine
or blood which will be tested under experts’ supervision.
Meanwhile, there have been many criticisms of the NFL agreement on drug testing regarding lope holes on HGH drug testing. Authorities fear for the obvious chances where athletes could cheat. However, Birch said that NFL could not reveal the full details of the bargaining agreement yet because some parts of it are still under negotiation.
According to records, the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the sports of American football has been an ongoing issue since the 1980s. NFL, however, began drug testing for steroids
during the 1987 season and started out issuing suspensions to players who are found positive during the drug test in 1989. NFL basically prohibits the use and abuse of prescription drugs
, over-the-counter drugs
, as well as alcohol
which will apply to all players of the team who have not yet retired.
Unlike school drug testing
, the concern about drug testing in professional sports is no uniformity of standards which allows sports leagues such as NFL to set its own rules and drug testing policies. Nevertheless, the Multi-Disciplinary Noise and Environmental Consultancy asserts that the major aim of drug testing on professional sports is more on the treatment of offenders instead of punishment. This is actually in contrast with Olympic Games
which focus on punishment and anticipation for the future. Aside from steroids, the NFL Intervention Program also tests for the presence of cocaine
, and PCP.