Testing Athletes for Steroids
Gary I. Wadler, M.D., FACP, FACSM, FACPM, FCP, is an internist with special expertise in the field of drug use in sports. He is the lead author of the internationally acclaimed textbook, Drugs and the Athlete. Dr. Wadler currently serves as the Chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency's (WADA) Prohibited List and Methods Sub-Committee and serves as an ex-officio member of WADA’s Health, Medicine, and Research Committee. Additionally, he has served as a Medical Advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, a Trustee of the Board of the American College of Sports Medicine and of the Women’s Sports Foundation. Among his other sports medicine activities, he has served as Tournament Physician of the U.S. Open Tennis Championships.
For his groundbreaking work in the field of drug abuse in sports, Dr Wadler received the International Olympic Committee's President's Prize in 1993. He is a frequent lecturer on the subject and his opinions are widely sought by the print and electronic media nationally and internationally. In 2007, he was selected by the Institute for International Sport as “One of the 100 Most Influential Sports Educators in America” and serves Chairman of the Communications and Information Committee of the American College of Sports Medicine. In addition, he is Chairman of the American Ballet Theatre's Medical Advisory Board where he oversees the development of medical guidelines for the healthy and sound training of dancers in the United States. Dr. Wadler is the Chairman of the College Council of the State University of New York at Old Westbury. Dr. Wadler maintains a private practice in Internal Medicine and Sports Medicine in Manhasset, New York and is a Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine at the NYU School of Medicine.
Question: Do you test athletes that use performance enhancers?
Gary Wadler: Well, there are two- first of all, to try to detect the abusive substances, we use basically body fluids and the classic body fluid has been urine. Not everything shows up in the urine. One such example, for the most part, is human growth hormone. In fact, less than two-tenths of one percent of the human growth hormone in your body ever shows up in the urine. And so people have spent a lot of time and money trying to develop a urine test. And Major League Baseball and the National Football League have contributed some dollars to try to do that as well, although over the last ten years have been five and ten million dollars have been spent in trying to develop a test for human growth hormone. Well, the conclusion was after a long series of meetings of experts and so on that the only available body fluids in which you can detect human growth hormone is blood. And so that is now part and parcel of the international schema for detecting the abuse of human growth hormone. Unfortunately, Major League Baseball and the National Football League are adamant in not having blood tested, which guarantees that there’s no way to detect that except in some sort of investigation, which has been the case.
Recorded on: 04/25/2008
Not everything shows up in urine, says Wadler.
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