Drugs in sport has become a massive issue in Australia. For some unknown reason the general public thought our sportsmen are clean. Just because we are geographically isolated doesn't mean we are isolated from the need to be bigger, stronger, faster in our sporting endeavours. Below are some links to videos and transcripts of what has been going on, its pretty serious stuff, with one team allegedly having more than half their roster being injected with peptides. Peptides ingested through the stomach are not a problem, it is the peptides that are required to be injected that are illegal in the sporting world. Going through these video's and transcripts you will see that either drips or injections were used to supply these peptides to the body for the players on this team.
What is a peptide?
In the literal sense, a peptide is just a very small protein. As might be expected, there are hundreds upon hundreds of known peptides. Most peptides cannot be administered orally as they are rapidly inactivated by gastrointestinal enzymes, so that subcutaneous or intravenous administration is required.
The peptides being speculated that Essendon (and other AFL clubs) used is one from the family of growth-hormone-releasing peptides, of which there are several available: pralmorelin, hexarelin, tesamorelin, or sermorelin, and more. These various growth hormone-releasing peptides, stimulate the production of growth hormone by the pituitary gland. This is reminiscent of Lance Armstrong’s drug of choice, erythopoetin (EPO), which stimulates the body to produce red blood cells. A spike in endogenous growth hormone (which may also be injected directly) is used to aid recovery and muscular growth – and, while not as effective as anabolic steroids for the growth and maintenance of muscle mass, growth hormone has significantly fewer side effects. Significantly, it’s also more difficult to detect. Suffice to say, these growth hormone-releasing peptides sit squarely in the WADA banned substances list. Much recent research has gone into identifying their patterns of usage, and how the individual drugs might be identified in blood tests.
HGH, spurs growth in children and adolescents. It also helps to regulate body composition, body fluids, muscle and bone growth, sugar and fat metabolism, and possibly heart function. Produced synthetically, HGH is the active ingredient in a number of prescription drugs and in other products available widely over the Internet. It is a protein based peptide hormone of incredible anabolic properties and functions found in all human beings and essential for a host of functions within the human body. While HGH therapy has existed for many years safe and effective administration was not available until the mid-1980’s when synthetic versions first hit the shelf; prior to this period the only way one could obtain Human Growth Hormone for therapy was from direct extraction from the pituitary of cadavers; an often dangerous and unsanitary practice. However, by the late 1990’s and early 2000’s HGH in a bio synthetic form was now highly available and since that time it has been one of the most sought after hormones in both hormone replacement therapy and the world of performance enhancement. Commonly referred to as the fountain of youth hormone HGH has been shown to produce enumerable traits in preserving youth and vigor as well as muscular development and improved metabolic efficiency. Even as Human Growth Hormone remains one of the more expensive hormones to purchase, as its benefits are great and its safety record is nearly perfect it remains highly popular despite the price one may pay. To reap a true benefit, 16 weeks is generally the minimal amount of time needed to get a response from the body, 6 months is the preferred length of time. The effects of Human Growth Hormone are largely permanent and that is worth noting.
My personal feelings on this topic especially how the season went for Essendon, the coaching staff found out what the fitness staff were doing, and stopped it immediately. I would suggest just before mid season. From round 12 onwards the club had a spate of soft tissue injuries, 'wear and tear' injuries, from muscles that were just over worked. Without the peptides being administered anymore, and the training workload not reducing, players bodies did not have enough time to fully recover and thus the soft tissue parade to the medical room. As always this is just my opinion and the word allegedly should be thrown over this entire article.
On top of this I have felt that certain social drugs have a performance enhancing benefit to the athlete if used in the short term. The reason for this is some of the side effects are perfect for an athlete. It is the timing of the use of these social drugs that garners the most 'performance enhancement' from not consuming other forms of drugs. Alcohol is a drug, a legal drug that we all use when having fun. We also know the side effects of drinking, many of which are negative to performing at your best. Loss in hemoglobin, reduced immunity to infections and irritations, and a decreased strength to overcome them. What's more, one of the most common side effects is it adversely affects the bone marrow function. alcohol reduces the flow of blood into and through the body muscles, thereby, leading to immense weakness and deterioration of the muscles. This can lead to sluggish heart or cardiomyopathy. Hence, we can say that the more alcohol a person consumes, the weaker the body muscles become.
So to avoid these side effects athletes are now partying with social drugs. In relation to sports the side effects are 'better' for what they do. Ice, speed exctacy cocaine all have side effects that can really screw you up, however for people looking to keep weight off and keep their cardiovascular fitness levels high, they have a benefit. Below is a list of the side effects from the party/social drugs:
- increased energy and alertness
- euphoria and a sense of well-being
- anxiety and panic
- psychosis, paranoia
- reduction of appetite
- dry mouth
- increased blood pressure and heart rate
- nausea and stomach cramps
- difficulty sleeping
- blurred vision
- dependence on the drug
- high blood pressure and increased risk of heart related problems such as heart attack and heart failure
- chronic sleep problems
- malnutrition and weight loss
- extreme mood swings
- depression and anxiety
- paranoia and psychosis
- panic attacks
- brain damage
- dental problems
- lung damage
- damage to the lining of the nose if snorting methamphetamines
- damage to veins, scarring, abscesses, risk of catching blood-borne diseases such as HIV and Hepatitis B or C
- social, financial, work, study or relationship problems
The side effects I have bolded through here are effects that will benefit an athlete, especially if these substances are being taken to replace alcohol. There is a big party drug culture in Australian football, the league will not admit to it and their policy on the topic makes it ver hard for a club to help a player if they do start using drugs. Until the AFL and other professional sports take 'party/social' drugs seriously then they are going to be used more and more often as a PED. Don't get me wrong, you look at those two lists above and there are some nasty side effects that should outweigh the positives, but when you are looking for any competitive edge, being able to party and not put weight on and have your heart rate racing can win out.
Thannks for reading guys, kind of hoping this starts to generate a bit of a discussion on this topic, I think it gets swept under the carpet far too often.