Monthly Archives: December 2007

U.S. Sen. Mitchell unveils report on steroid use in baseball

In a withering report Thursday on what he called a sports steroid “crisis,” former U.S. Senator George Mitchell branded some of baseball’s greatest stars as drug cheats and recommended tough reforms, including more stringent testing for performance-enhancing drugs and setting up an internal investigative unit to police their use in the game.

Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says he embraces all of Mitchell’s ideas.

But for Mitchell’s reform program to take effect, Selig will have to win the agreement of the powerful Major League Baseball Players Association, which for years resisted efforts to punish players who use steroids.

Meanwhile, the commissioner will have to decide for himself whether to discipline home run king Barry Bonds, seven-time Cy Young Award-winning pitcher Roger Clemens and 84 other active and retired major-league players who were identified in Mitchell’s report.

Mitchell urged Selig not to discipline players identified in his investigation. But in a televised news conference Thursday hours after the report was released, Selig said he reserved the right to fine or suspend any player whose drug abuse had “threatened the integrity of the sport,” as he put it.

When asked about Bonds, the former Giants star who is awaiting trial in federal court in San Francisco on perjury charges, Selig declined to comment.

Rob Manfred, baseball’s executive vice president for labor relations, told the Associated Press after Mitchell’s report was released Thursday that decisions on disciplining players would be made on a case-by-case basis, taking into account “the period of time during which the conduct occurred and what our policy looked like for that point in time.” The review process would continue into the new year, he indicated.

The report, the result of an investigation Selig ordered in response to Chronicle reports about Bonds’ involvement in the BALCO steroids scandal, cited compelling evidence that the game was rife with the abuse of steroids, human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing drugs.

Its 409 pages portray steroids as so pervasive in the major leagues that players casually discuss their drug use in clubhouses, while team employees lug duffels packed with syringes and drug vials, and front-office personnel factor suspicions about steroids into decisions about making trades.

Mitchell’s list of drug users, compiled with evidence provided by two steroid dealers who became federal informants, was peppered with names of some of the greatest stars in the past 20 years. It included eight winners of the Most Valuable Player award, among them former Oakland Athletics Jose Canseco, Jason Giambi and Miguel Tejada, as well as Bonds and Cy Young winners Eric Gagne, the former Los Angeles Dodgers relief ace, and Clemens, who also won his own MVP.

In addition to Bonds, 12 Giants were named as drug users in the report, many of them connected to the BALCO steroids lab in Burlingame. The report implicated 12 Oakland players in drug use, dating back to the “Bash Brothers” era of Canseco and fellow slugger Mark McGwire – who also was labeled a steroid user.

“Widespread illegal use of steroids and other anabolic substances” has afflicted baseball for many years, Mitchell said. He called steroid use a “crisis” that exposed players to serious health risks and threatened to corrupt the integrity of baseball itself.

More on this topic Mitchell unveils web of steroid use in baseball on San Francisco Chronicle

MLB Steroids

Injection of anabolic steroids

All oil based and water based anabolic steroids should be taken intramuscularly. This means the shot must penetrate the skin and subcutaneous tissue to enter the muscle itself. Intra muscular injections are used when prompt absorption is desired, when larger doses are needed than can be given continuously or when a drug is too irritating to be given subcutaneous. The common sites for intra muscular injections include the buttock, lateral side of the thigh, and the deltoid region of the arm.

Muscles in these areas, especially the gluteal muscles in the buttock, are fairly thick. Because of the large number of muscle fibers and extensive fascia, (fascia is a type of connective tissue that surrounds and separates muscles) the drug has a large surface area for absorption. Absorption is further promoted by the extensive blood supply to muscles. Ideally, intra muscular injections should be given deep within the muscle and away from major nerves and blood vessels. The best site for steroid injections is in the gluteus medius muscle which is located in the upper outer quadrant of the buttock. The iliac crest serves as a landmark for this quadrant.

Iliac crest

The spot for an injection in an adult is usually to 2 to 3 inches (7 1/2 centimeters) below the iliac crest. The iliac crest is the top of the pelvic girdle on the posterior (back) side. You can find the iliac crest by feeling the uppermost bony area above each gluteal muscle. The upper outer quadrant is chosen because the muscle in this area is quite thick and has few nerves. The probability of injecting the drug into a blood vessel is remote in this area. Injecting here reduces the chance of injury to the sciatic nerve which runs through the lower and middle area of the buttock. It controls the posterior of each thigh and the entire leg from the knee down. If an injection is too close to this nerve or actually hits it, extreme pain and temporary paralysis can be felt in these areas. This is especially undesirable and warrants staying as far away from this area as possible.

If the gluteal region cannot be injected for some reason, the second choice would be the lateral portion of the thigh. Usually, intra muscular injections in the thigh are only indicated for infants and children. The vastus lateralis muscle is the only area of the thigh that should be injected intramuscularly. This site is determined by using the knee and the greater trochanter of the femur as landmarks.

If the gluteal region cannot be injected for some reason, the second choice would be the lateral portion of the thigh. Usually, intra muscular injections in the thigh are only indicated for infants and children. The vastus lateralis muscle is the only area of the thigh that should be injected intramuscularly. This site is determined by using the knee and the greater trochanter of the femur as landmarks.

The greater trochanter is the bony area that you can feel where the femur joins the pelvic girdle. The mid portion of the muscle is located by measuring the handbreadth above the knee and the handbreadth below the greater trochanter. Injecting into the front of the thigh or inside of the thigh is extremely unwise. These areas contain nerves as well as a number of blood vessels.

Belgian court says it can’t judge Andrei Kashechkin

A Belgian court ruled on Wednesday that it was “without territorial competence” to pass judgment on doping charges against Kazakh rider Andrei Kashechkin.

The former Astana rider, Andrei Kashechkin, had demanded that the court suspend charges of blood doping which have been filed against him by the International Cycling Union (UCI). But the court in Liege decided that it did not have the authority to make a ruling after Kashechkin’s lawyers claimed that legal procedures during his positive controls in August were not followed correctly by the UCI. The court also recommended that Kashechkin take his case to a Swiss court which is also where the UCI have their head offices.

Kashechkin denies he used his own blood and another of his lawyers claimed that “privately-run” sports bodies such as the UCI and the World Anti Doping Agency (WADA) have no legitimate right to test athletes