NFL Executive Vice President Jeff Pash says the NFL plans to institute a random blood testing program for Human Growth Hormone this season, and that it has the support of the NFL Players Association, Gary Myers of the New York Daily News reports.
“We expect that we will have testing for HGH. I think that both sides believe that’s important for the integrity of the game and that we should continue to be leaders here,” Pash said. “I think that’s a view that’s strongly held by the players as it by us.”
A less invasive, urine-based test for HGH does not currently exist. One of the reasons why the NFLPA and MLBPA has opposed a blood-based test in recent years is they believe that doing so would slow research towards a urine-based test.
“It will take some time to get that ramped up, but we would hope that it could be ramped up by the start of the season,” Pash said of the time frame to implement the program.
In March, NFL Vice President Adolpho Birch, who oversees the league’s drug testing program, pushed for HGH testing.
“We want it. We think it’s necessary. We’re going to ensure that it’s done,” said Birch. “That’s something very important to us and the integrity of our game. We believe some of the basis for going slowly on it before has been addressed. At this point, it’s proper for it to be an active part of our program.”
The league’s drug testing policy is something that needs to be collectively bargained, which could not have happened with the NFLPA in its present form.