Springer: The next wave in performance enhancement

From Stephanie Springer at The Hardball Times on January 17, 2019:

It’s January, and many of us are trying to achieve a better version of ourselves. Professional athletes are no different, although their goals probably involve enhanced performance on the field. But professional athletes are just as susceptible to snake oil salesmen peddling their wares as we can sometimes can be. If a baseball player is looking to improve his performance with effective measures, but also steer clear of banned substances and potential harm, what are his options?

I set out to explore what might be on the horizon with regards to performance enhancement. But first, we need to be aware of what players can’t do. The current list of prohibited substances in the MLB Joint Drug Agreement is a long list of don’ts. These include drugs of abuse, performance enhancing substances, stimulants, and diuretics and masking agents. It’s based upon the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list, with input from professionals selected by MLB and the MLBPA. These prohibitions aren’t meant to come at the expense of keeping players healthy and active on the field—or extending their playing careers. The therapeutic use exemption (TUE) can play a role in striking this balance, as a player with a confirmed medical need can receive a medication on the prohibited substances list.

By excluding specific things, we leave open a wide arena of things that a) aren’t banned, and b) may or may not improve performance. We haven’t really defined performance per se, or a degree or type of enhancement. And when it comes to the “performance enhancing substances” that are actually on the prohibited list, we need to note that there isn’t always evidence that these “performance enhancing substances” actually enhance anything except for urine.

Read the full article here: https://tht.fangraphs.com/the-next-wave-in-performance-enhancement/

Originally published: January 17, 2019. Last Updated: January 17, 2019.