When a performance-enhancing drug (PED) discussion comes up in the news, steroids and HGH are thrown around all the time making it seem like they are synonymous. However, I recently sat down with an expert on the matter, Quinnipiac baseball athletic trainer Adam Pallone, who clearly explained the difference. And it is a big one.
Anything that enhances performance is classified as an ergogenic aid, steroids would be one example. ...Steroids are the big one, human growth hormone is the other big one. Both of them are two separate categories encompassed under that sports enhancement umbrella.
Pitchers will use [steroids] more for recovery purposes. You’ll see a lot of relievers using it because ‘I have to pitch night after night.’ Sometimes it’s not to up that 90 mph fastball to a 95; sometimes it’s just to be able to throw again tomorrow.
For hitters, being able to react to a 95 mph pitch, that’s a split second thing. Being big and stocky and having large muscles doesn’t make you faster to your reaction, it makes you slower. The tradeoff is, you still gotta be able to hit the pitch 400 ft, 500 ft. And that’s where I think the big oversight of all of this is – human growth hormone.
The bottom line is, steroids make you stronger and slower, but HGH improves your hand-eye coordination and eye sight, which allow you to make better contact with the ball.
Pallone graduated in 2004 from Central Connecticut State University with a degree in athletic training—a highly-touted program at CCSU.