The NBA has tested its players for human growth hormone since the 2015-16 season, and a number of players have been suspended for its use over the past several years. This season, John Collins was suspended after testing positive for Peptide-2, which releases growth hormone, but if Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban had his way, that wouldn't have been the case.
On Thursday, the University of Michigan released a study claiming that HGH could aid in the recovery of torn ACLs by preventing the loss of muscle strength in knees. Cuban funded that study, and went on to argue on its behalf on Twitter.
"It's time to recognize that HGH (Human Growth Hormone) can positively impact injury recovery," Cuban wrote. "I funded this study so that athletes can get back to full strength and doing what they love."
"There really was no research or complete logic for doing it," Cuban said. "So a couple of years ago, I said, 'look, if there's no data there to dismiss HGH, let's find out if it can help for injury recovery because it's been discussed as having that ability.' So I worked with the University of Michigan and we put together a study, and as it turned out, comparing athletes vs. a placebo, there was a significant improvement in their recovery time and getting back to full strength. And so now, this is the first step towards offering data and hopefully the NBA, the Olympics and other leagues will look at this and say 'let's do some more studies.' I'm willing to get involved with more studies financially, but if we can get the leagues to do it, the players I think will all be for it as long as you can prove that it's safe."
Injury recovery is an especially important topic at the moment in light of the impact coronavirus has had on professional sports. The NBA has now spent over two months on hiatus, andfor a return, games will have been suspended for over four months before resuming. The NBA is scrambling to figure out a training camp format to help get players back into shape before beginning games again, but there is no substitute for the work that goes into a normal season.
If HGH could help players recover from injuries suffered in the aftermath of the shutdown or potentially prevent those injuries from coming in the first place, it is an option that should at least be explored. As long as it is safe, keeping players healthy will always be a priority for the NBA.