HGH Debate Continues in Wake of Veerpalu Case

Photo: AP/Scanpix (Matt Slocum)
8/7/2013 4:14 PM
Category: Sports

Last month, with Estonian skier Andrus Veerpalu's legal victory against WADA in the backdrop, the NFL and its players union announced they would move forward with a growth hormone population study.

All NFL players are due to be tested this summer, in a study that aims to find out if the level of HGH in professional football players is higher than in the general population, in order to determine the threshold for a positive HGH test, NFL.com and others recently reported.

The unsettled issue has been at the center of efforts to stall implementation of HGH testing in the league. Numerous anti-doping experts have said a population study would not yield any anomalies, and critics say the union is just buying time for its players, despite having agreed in 2011 with NFL to implement HGH testing.

The NFLPA was helped by Veerpalu's case, as the skier was acquitted of HGH charges by the Court of Arbitration for Sport last March. The court said in its ruling that all reason indicated that Veerpalu had used HGH, but that scientific support for what qualifies as a high level of HGH is not definitive. The court called for a bigger population study.

Veerpalu is a two-time Olympic gold medalist and one of Estonia's most celebrated athletes.


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