Matt McGrath’s article at BBC News, Passport to a drug free Olympics?, details the leap forward WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) is taking in combating illegal performance-enhancement at the upcoming London Olympics. Using what WADA calls an athlete biological passport, they are able to screen for “biological variables” in athletes over time, giving testers a more accurate picture of changes that might indicate certain illegal performance-enhancing practices.
Much more than a simple single test for PED’s, the passport takes this several steps further by recording biological prints of an athlete throughout their career. Currently (according to the article) this monitoring focuses on markers that indicate blood doping practices; however, they are working toward adding “steroids and hormone profiles” to the passport. This would broaden the passport’s testing scope, allowing it to be used as a means of detecting PED use in a variety of sports. Certainly something the NFL should take notice of.
My last piece, NFL Testing For HGH, detailed how the NFL was taking steps toward testing for this common illegal performance-enhancement drug starting this season. A good first step even though there is still skepticism based on how and when the tests will be administered.
Yet, if the NFL is truly committed to making a difference and trying to change the PED landscape for itself, this is where they should be headed―the athlete biological passport. Not only would this help benefit the NFL by encouraging a more level playing field, it would set a more forward-thinking, positive example for all professional sports.
Now wouldn’t that be a good thing!!!