The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are nearing an agreement to test the league’s players blood for human growth hormone (HGH), reports ESPN.com.
The testing could start as early as next season. NBA Commissioner David Stern has said that basketball has fallen behind Major League Baseball, which has an agreement to collect and analyze players’ blood.
The NBA has never tested for HGH, because it would mean taking samples of the players’ blood. The union has never allowed this because there are questions with the test’s reliability. NBA players currently can be tested for illegal substances up to six times a year, two of which occur in the offseason.
“According to the expert witnesses who testified at our hearing, there is consensus among the scientific community that HGH testing is safe and reliable. Since the NBA agreed last year to start HGH testing — and since professional basketball players already compete in the Olympics where they are subject to HGH testing — there is no reason to delay HGH testing for the NBA itself. My hope is that all our professional sports leagues implement HGH testing right away to set an example for millions of young athletes across the country who look up to them,” Rep. Elijah Cummings said in an email to ESPN.com.