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Mark Cuban and Making HGH Legal in the NBA

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is in favor of making HGH legal in the NBA. In November of 2015, he asked the NBA Board of Governors to consider the possibility of letting players who have been injured use human growth hormone therapy during rehab to help with the healing process. Taking that request one step further, he stated that he was willing to fund the necessary clinical studies himself in order to ensure player safety.

Mark Cuban and HGH in the NBA

Cuban realizes that may take 10 years to complete the studies that will provide the NBA with the information that it needs to make HGH legal, and he has already been speaking with several universities about this process. In fact, his first two-year exploratory study at the University of Michigan MedSport clinic was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration under a special exemption and is backed by a single grant from his eponymous foundation.

This clinical trial will accept men between the ages of 18 and 35 who are MedSport patients and undergoing ACL reconstruction surgery for the first time. They cannot be professional athletes subject to the rules or protocols of the NCAA, World Anti-Doping Agency, or any other professional sports association. The study is double-blind so that both the patients and the researchers will not know who is receiving the HGH treatment as opposed to the placebo.

The protocol being used is as follows:

  • Each person will be injected in the abdomen twice a day for one week before the surgery and then for five weeks following the surgery – with either HGH or a placebo
  • Patients will be monitored for a minimum of six months of physical therapy – tracking strength in both the injured and uninjured legs
  • Health condition will also be watched for any potential side effects

The six-week treatment time is meant to mimic what would be regularly be used for medical treatment and not performance enhancement.

Mark Cuban and Why HGH Should be Legal in the NBA for Rehabilitation

During a TMZ Sport’s show on Fox Sports 1, Cuban called in to discuss the subject of making HGH legal in the NBA, saying:

“We say it’s ok for people to get Lasik for their eyes. That’s performance enhancing, and there’s always the chance that something can go wrong.”

He further went on to state:

“We say that you can get Tommy John surgery, or any surgery for the matter is performance enhancing. Torn ligament? Fix it. Is it better than new? Possibly, with rehabbing it can be better than new. We don’t say don’t do it because it can be performance enhancing. We say, let’s do what’s right to get you healthy again.”

Tommy John surgery replaces the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. This allows pitchers to return to the mound throwing harder than before they had this surgery performed. If this is the case, then what is there to prevent pitchers from having this surgery done pre-emptively to improve their competitive edge?

The Benefits of Making HGH Legal in the NBA

Benefits of Making HGH Legal in the NBA

It is natural to want to explore the benefits of making HGH legal in the NBA. After all, anything that can help an injured athlete heal quicker and better reduces overall downtime and gets them back into the game.

HGH occurs naturally in the body and is produced by the pituitary gland. Among its powerful functions are the following:

  • Strengthening immunity
  • Increasing bone density
  • Rebuilding lean muscle tissue
  • Shortening recovery time from injury and illness
  • Improving cell regeneration

These are all functions that would be crucial to the healing process when an injury sidelines an athlete. The biggest benefit might also be seen in those athletes over the age of thirty – a time when growth hormone decline tends to begin in adults. This means that it could take longer for injuries to heal in one’s thirties than in one’s twenties – a perfect example of where HGH could be beneficial.

HGH has been shown to be particularly useful in the healing of bone fractures, as the rebuilding of bone is clearly part of the purpose of growth hormone. It is uncertain, however, at this time if it can be helpful for tendon injuries.

Muscle atrophy is another crucial issue that affects injured athletes. After years of building up their bodies to a certain point, a serious injury can do more than sideline them from play – it can cause muscle atrophy that can take a long time to rebuild – in some cases longer than healing from the original injury. In fact, as much as 20 percent of muscle can melt away in the days before undergoing ACL surgery.

Why is HGH Currently Banned from Professional Sports?

The current ban placed on HGH is due to the unfair advantage it can give to an athlete. A study performed in Sydney, Australia and funded by the World Anti-Doping Agency tested HGH, HGH with testosterone, testosterone, and a placebo on 103 recreational athletes between the ages of 18 and 40.

Here is what they found:

  • Increased bike speed among HGH users of 4 to 5%, testosterone users 8%
  • Sprinting a hundred meter dash had HGH users .04 second improvement in times

Can the use of hormone replacement therapies such as HGH and testosterone give an athlete an unfair advantage over someone who has not used these treatments? Absolutely! But, the same thing can be said for any number of other treatments and surgeries. That is why the current study is looking at the short-term medical use and not long-term performance enhancing purposes.

At this time, the use of HGH is banned for athletes and bodybuilders, as well as most adults under the age of thirty. The exceptions are individuals who were diagnosed with growth hormone deficiency as children, or adults with certain medical conditions, including pituitary tumors or injuries.

Future changes may come as study results are published in a few years. Until that time, strict guidelines are in place for the prescribing of HGH therapy.

Medically reviewed by   Reviewers National HRT Staff - Updated on July 18, 2019

Please note that the information provided in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.