Injuries have been at the forefront of not only Cowboys fans concerns but fans across the league for the last 2 seasons. Many have speculated or tried to offer explanations, including myself, as to the reasons why have injuries been increasing. Many have pointed to the shortened strength and conditioning programs and offseason OTAs and the lack of contact in practice to poor coaching and preparation by players. While this may be some of the problem, everyone inside and outside the NFL have danced around "The Elephant in the Room". That elephant is the past usage of Human Growth Hormone (HGH) by NFL players. While there is no concrete data on the usage, numerous surveys of both former and current players place the numbers between 30% and 50% of the players have used HGH. This is a subject I thought long and hard about writing about and I am not here to point fingers at any player or team nor debate whether the policy is right or wrong. These are things I cannot change. What I do want to do is explore the problem and try and offer possible solutions going forward into the future. I am breaking this into 2 parts, with the second post focusing on where we go from here.
Without trying to get technical, HGH aids in growth and cell reproduction and regeneration. It is hotly debated inside the medical and research communities whether HGH enhances an athletes overall performance, but what is known is that it aids in injury resistance along with recovery from injuries and fatigue. Given the physical nature of football, one could see why players may use HGH to help prevent injuries and help in the recovery from injuries. This is something that I personally can attest to, having used HGH once during my college career and then again on occasions while in the military. From an injury prevention side after the new CBA and an agreement to test for HGH we can safely see many players removing HGH from their routines. This is something that the league has slowly moved towards and with the new CBA put all players on notice that the testing would be coming and given them a chance if they are using to stop.
I hope this opens the conversation and I will have the second part of the post "Where Do We Go From Here" ready in a few days.