Ryan Madson, a reliever for the Los Angeles Angels, openly wonders if human growth hormone (HGH) would help him and others recover from injury.
Madson has spent time with four different doctors around the country but on most days still finds his right elbow to be sore after playing catch. The 32-year-old is now bringing this "taboo" subject to the forefront as a possible means to aid him and others while improving the game.
As per Gonzalez, the Angels reliever stated: "If HGH were legal, just in the process of healing, under a doctor's recommendation, in the right dosage, while you're on the [disabled list], I don't think that's such a bad idea -- as long as it doesn't have any lasting side effects, negative side effects."
His words will certainly draw criticism and a polarizing reaction from fans of Major League Baseball, but Madson is maintaining that he has no plans to utilize the substance unless it is made legal and regulated by the league.
However, his struggle to recover from surgery and get back on the mound is something that will make him a supporter of HGH—even if he ends up rehabilitating without the aid of it.
"I will still believe, even if I get healthy without [HGH], that it should be legal, in the right dosage, under supervision, with doctors, for the only purposes to help heal and get players back in the Major Leagues."
His reasoning is simple. Madson claims fans want to see the best players compete, and the game would put the best possible product out on the diamond if it were to allow the heavily regulated use of HGH.
When asked if he would prefer to see MLB permit the use of steroids, Madson bluntly confirmed that those should remain illegal.
However, don’t expect the league to change its tune on HGH. Medical director Dr. Gary Green points out that there are no available studies linking the substance to recovery in post-injury, post-surgery scenarios, as per Gonzalez's report.
Dr. Green sympathized with Madson but believes there are other outlets to assist his recovery: "I've taken care of a lot of athletes and I understand that they're frustrated and they want to get back to play. That's why we have the field of sports medicine. There's also a lot of things that people will try that won't work."
It will likely take a major medical breakthrough or groundbreaking study for baseball to open the floodgates and consent to HGH use in any way, shape or form.
While it’s brave of Madson to air his frustrations and ponder an improvement in rehabilitation for players suffering the same plight, it’s not likely going to result in any sweeping changes to Major League Baseball’s policy.