Tim Polzer
Wednesday August 14th, 2013

NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are closer to an HGH testing policy. (Rob Carr/Getty Images) NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are closer to an HGH testing policy. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Former NFL players will voluntarily take human growth hormones as part of a study sponsored by the NFL and NFL players union, according to a USA Today report.

According to the report, the study will be used in the development of a HGH base line or "decision limit" for blood drawn in an eventual population study as part of the NFL-NFLPA new performance-enhancing drug policy. Determining a "normal" HGH level is needed because the hormone is naturally produced by the body to stimulate cell reproduction and regeneration. Artificially administered HGH is banned by most sports organizations under performance-enhancing drug policies.

From USA Today:

The people spoke on the condition of anonymity because the study has not been announced publicly.

The tentative plan is for roughly 100 former players to participate in the study, with two-thirds receiving HGH and the other third receiving a placebo. Their HGH levels will be measured before and after the trial.

It's part of the scientific design of the population study that will include blood draws from all current players to determine the so-called decision limit — i.e. the highest HGH level a player can have without facing discipline under the new performance-enhancing drug policy that is still being finalized, the people said.

MMQB: Why Brandon Moore walked away from the NFL The NFL and the union agreed to blood-testing for HGH in their last collective-bargaining agreement,  but the program's development has been slowed by the NFLPA's concerns over what a "normal" HGH level should be. But an agreement appeared closer Tuesday. An NFLPA memo obtained by the Associated Press "tentatively agreed" to let the league take 40 blood samples as part of HGH testing each week during the 2013 season. A positive test would result in a four-game suspension.

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