The debate over the performance-enhancing effects in baseball of growth hormone continues without a clear answer. Does growth hormone help recovery and healing from injury? Does growth hormone improve baseball performance? Various people have made the case that GH does not help baseball players; others claim the drug helps improve performance dramatically.
Lou Schuler ofhas an to this question:
But the key here is to acknowledge that the only honest way to answer the question of the performance-enhancing effects of human growth hormone is to say, “We just don’t know.”
Schuler is bothered by commentators enter the debate with absolute certainty when the performance enhancing effects of growth hormone are often immeasurable and unknowable due to the lack of scientific evidence.
But in spite of the lack of scientific evidence, Schuler says he is influenced by the anecdotal evidence coming from credible sources such as sports doctors, trainers, strength coaches and pro athletes. He cites a former team physician for the Denver Broncos quoted in a Newsweek:
Even some sports doctors have given anecdotal testament to the drug’s healing power, claiming that it can cut recovery times—from wear and tear, surgery and sports injuries—in half. “Our observations tell us that it works and that it works well,” says Dr. Richard Hawkins, former team physician for the Denver Broncos. So far, however, solid evidence to support such claims is lacking.
The medical community denied the performance enhancing effects of anabolic steroids for decades as athletes continued to use them in competitive sports. The scientific evidence did not support the anecdotal evidence. Nevertheless, the anecdotal evidence was correct. Sometimes it’s just not possible (from a medical ethics standpoint) to research the various stacks and quantities of performance enhancing drugs used by athletes.
“There’s a great deal of hype and a great deal of testimony, but there isn’t a great deal of evidence,” says [Richard] Hellman [president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists]. The main problem, researchers say, is that they cannot possibly study the effects of HGH in the quantities and combinations that athletes are believed to be using it.
I would tend to believe the sports physicians, trainers and strength coaches who are doing the real world research unrestrained by institutional review boards.