While the NFL and NFLPA have made some progress on human growth hormone testing protocol, substantial work also remains to be done until they reach a point where it will actually begin.
To that end, the NFLPA informed its player reps and agents Monday that all players will be giving a blood sample during preseason physicals. This is part of a population study being conducted as a means to eventually formulating a full policy for testing. The blood samples taken this preseason will be only for the purposes of the HGH population study and will not be tested for anything else, the memo notes.
The sides have differed about the science and merits of several testing limits -- and what would determine a positive test -- among many other issues of debate since starting negotiations on HGH years ago when they worked on the latest collective bargaining agreement. There has also been disagreement about what levels of HGH are found naturally in the bodies of pro football players, which speaks to the need for a study.
A copy of the memo sent to agents is included below:
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.
CA Notice 4-13