A currently unregulated medical procedure done by a handful of athletes is being put under a little scrutiny. It’s a procedure that does exactly what Human Growth Hormone allegedly has done for MLB stars: it dramatically speeds up recovery from injury. And it’s a procedure that two Pittsburgh Steelers in particular apparently did two weeks before the Super Bowl.
(Hines Ward at the Super Bowl: Brought to you by PPT.)
According to a story in THE NEW YORK TIMES by Alan Schwarz, Steelers stars Hines Ward and Troy Polamalu both used a controversial procedure called Platelet-rich Plasma Therapy before last month’s Big Game. What does PPT do, you ask? Well, when the platelet-rich blood is re-injected into an injured region of the player’s body, it speeds up the healing process and, in some cases, may even allow them to avoid surgery.
With many of the Olympic sports we watch every four years on the TV under scrutiny thanks to Marion Jones, Justin Gatlin, and many others, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency has introduced blood testing for doping at the Olympic trials for track and field this weekend and will use them for swimmers next week as well, reports the TAMPA TRIBUNE.
Essentially, the agency is trying to catch users of HGH or anything that would enhance oxygen transfer. The article cites blood transfusions and “synthetic hemoglobin” as two of the particular methods that could be detected by the blood test but aren’t through the usual urinalysis.
The top three finishers in each trial will get the testing treatment. Given that the recent tests for EPO aren’t worth a thing, we’ll all just sit and watch with subconscious thoughts of who’s on what designer drug anyway, regardless of what barriers USADA tries to put in place.