Saturday, March 20, 2010

Needles in Baseball

The part of the steroids-in-baseball argument that seems most silly to me is how something like this isn't a big deal:
Lee underwent an ultrasound exam, and Dr. Khalfayan gave him a platelet rich plasma (PRP) injection. He will be re-evaluated in seven days.
He got a what?? Is that somehow not a performance-enhancing drug?

The sentence is from a news article about the Mariners' prize acquisition, lefthander Cliff Lee, who has an abdominal strain. For this strain, he was flown from where the Mariners are currently having Spring Training in Tucson up to Seattle where the team's medical director administered the rich plasma injection. I injured my right leg pretty badly in a hard collision with a goal post in my men's league hockey game last Thursday, a charley horse* resulted and I was unable to finish the game or walk without pain for a few days. I've had to play two more games since then, though, and I performed pretty far below my established level of performance and couldn't even apply myself fully. Had I been able to have one of these "platelet rich plasma injections" I probably would've performed much better and been able to give more effort. As far as I see it, both steroids and these PRP injections are beneficial and performance-enhancing for an athlete. Why is one allowed and the other not only illegal but carries an ugly stigma?

I'm probably overlooking some obvious fact that'll make this post sound foolish once I realize it. Or not.

*There are a couple anecdotes for the history of the term "charley horse". Both have to do with baseball. One says it comes from 1880s pitcher Charlie "Old Hoss" Radbourn who often suffered from leg cramps. The other, which I like better, is that there was an old horse named Charlie that used to work at Comiskey Park (named after Charles Comiskey) where the White Sox play. An old, retired horse was often referred to as "Charlie" in those days.

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