Deer Antlers: The Next Big Thing In Performance Enhancing Drugs. Really.

Credit goes to Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports for this one.  The next big thing in performance enhancing drugs (PEDs):  A soft coating in deer antlers which is being used as a type of human growth hormone (HGH), and it looks like this one is difficult to detect with current drug testing methods:
Best anyone can figure, first you need to run a blood test (which leagues such as the NFL or Major League Baseball don’t do). Then you need to run a blood test at the exact proper time. Otherwise, nothing comes up.
“You can find it,” Jonathan Danaceau, a director at a World Doping Agency approved lab, told in its report about new Raiders coach Hue Jackson’s connection with a supplement company that produces the spray. “But saying whether this is synthetic or natural is hard to determine. It’s only detectable in blood, and most anti-doping tests are done in urine.”
It’s a loophole for the athlete – turning drug tests into intelligence tests. You have to be stupid to fail one. The benefits of deer antler – or more specifically the substance IGF-1 that comes from it – are clear. IGF-1 is banned by everyone.
“It’s one of the proteins that is increased in human growth hormone … it’s considered performance-enhancing,” Danaceau said.
“It’s similar to HGH in that it aids in recovery. It helps build tissue, and strengthen tissue – more than you can ever do by training alone. Any preparation that is not naturally occurring is banned. Taking IGF-1 through deer antler is banned as well.”
So it’s banned, but difficult to detect, which leaves sports leagues in a quandary.  How the heck do you stop this?
“I use the spray all the time,” [Cincinnati] Bengals safety Roy Williams said. “Two to three times a day. My body felt good after using it. I did feel a difference.”
Williams never tested positive for anything. Considering various NFL assistant coaches, including new Oakland Raiders head coach Hue Jackson have been associated with a company that admits shipping it to NFL players, it stands to reason the stuff is all over the league.
According to Wetzel, Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis is linked to this controversy via text messages with a supplier.  Maybe that's why the bear is chasing him in the Old Spice commercial?

Another interesting question:  how do they figure out the beneficial effects of deer antlers in the first place?  Who looks at a deer and says, hmm, I wonder if their antlers can help my muscles recover from workouts more quickly?

Yahoo! Sports:  Spray gives sports deer-in-headlights look
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