Taylor Hooton Foundation > Hoot’s Corner > General > N.B.A. to Test Players for H.G.H. Starting Next Season
April 23, 2015
N.B.A. to Test Players for H.G.H. Starting Next Season

The N.B.A. announced Thursday that it would expand its antidrug program next season to include blood tests for human growth hormone. The league said testing would begin this year in preseason training camp.

Commissioner Adam Silver has said that there was no reason to believe that the use of steroids or other performance-enhancing drugs was common in the N.B.A., and only a handful of players have tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in recent years under the league’s urine-testing program.

But adding blood tests for H.G.H., which can aid muscle building and recovery, aligned the N.B.A. with other major American sports leagues that have implemented such testing with varying success. A three-member panel to explore the viability of such testing had been established under the 2011 collective bargaining agreement.

Major League Baseball, which has been most tarnished by performance-enhancing drugs, began administering blood tests for H.G.H. on a limited basis in 2011, before expanding the program to in-season testing in 2013. The N.F.L. and its players’ union agreed to H.G.H. testing in 2011 but only implemented it this past season. No players tested positive. The N.H.L. does not administer blood tests for H.G.H.

The N.B.A.’s penalties for positive tests will mirror those for other performance-enhancing drugs. The first time a player tests positive, he will receive a 20-game ban. The second violation will draw a 45-game suspension. A third positive test will result in dismissal from the league.

The league said each player would take three unannounced blood tests per year — twice during the season, once during the off-season.