With the positive finding of supplemental growth hormone in rugby player Terry Newton, an entire host of organizations are now considering the ramifications. Newton did not deny the allegations of growth hormone use.
The first thing to note is that Newton was caught with a blood test, not a urine test. This is important as many organizations are not willing to allow their players to be required to give blood samples. Organizations such as the National Football League are not in favor of blood testing of their players.
In addition, a urine test for growth hormone is unlikely to be available anytime soon. It's simply very hard to create a hgh urine test that is able to detect its use.
However, as with most things, if public anger at athletes receives a certain level, major organizations might be convinced to use blood testing for substances on their athletes.
Major League Baseball is planning to implement the new test in their minor league divisions first, with an eventual roll out to the Major Leagues. MLB players already have blood taken so some consider it an easy extension to allow for testing for growth hormone from these blood samples.
The major worry is false positives. A serious accusation against a player is almost the same as a conviction. Players would have a very tough time restoring their image to fans and teams even if the charge is found to be false.
False positives could harm the sports even more than finding the few who do use growth hormone. It could create an era of mistrust and drive a wedge between players and those trying to keep the game fair.
In all cases, the test will need to pass the players' unions which can cause delays and may take years before the test is actually implemented.
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