Causal Rewrite- Gobirds115

The Anabolic Answer

I fully understand the history of PED abuse in baseball and why Major League Baseball went to the extremes they went to in hopes to prevent the power trips and blatant abuse of steroids that we saw in the 1990’s and 2000’s. But there are cases where these banned substances are a necessary means of recovery for athletes. In “Major League Baseball’s Minor League Drug Prevention And Treatment Program” they have a section dedicated specifically to allowing players to take prohibited substances called “Therapeutic Use Exemption” or “TUE” which allows players to use certain substances if they really must. I believe that MLB should consider easing the process of getting an exemption and adopt a system in which post-injury evaluation system to determine if banned substances could make an impact on recovery rates.

In this system, players would have a baseline test at the start of every season. The tests would monitor their physical capabilities such as strength, speed, agility, and baseball related movements. A big part of these tests would also be drug testing before these tests to make sure players are clean for the baseline along with blood testing to determine levels of certain biological/chemical factors. Once players have a baseline test, they can be evaluated post-injury in comparison to their baseline tests. The league would have to create specific thresholds in comparison to baseline tests for exemptions. What I mean by this is that if a player experiences an injury that doesn’t completely diminish their capabilities but sets them back in a minor way, they may not qualify for use of a banned substance. Where if a player experiences an injury that sets them down quite a bit from their baseline tests, they may have a much higher chance of qualifying for an exemption. A system like this would obviously require major supervision and likely it’s own commitee but if it means improving injury recovery and keeping players on the field then it should by all means be considered.

One of the key reasons I’d like to see the MLB adopt a system similar to this is because of oblique injuries. In a study done on oblique injuries from the 2011 season to the 2015 season, 259 players at the major league level suffered oblique injuries resulting in 6,132 days missed. Batters/Position Players averaged 3 weeks missed per injury with over an 8% chance of re-injury. Starting Pitchers averaged nearly a month missed with a re-injury rate of around 5% and relievers averaged about 24 days missed with a re-injury rate of nearly 10%. The average days missed on recurrent oblique injuries is also higher compared to the days missed from the primary injury. These injuries are not a day to day type of injury and a statistical analysis of recovery methods shows that some players required injection of a corticosteroid, a legal steroid in Major League Baseball. However, administering the corticosteroid still didn’t speed up recovery process as it took players 30 days to recover post injection.

I think it’s quite interesting that players didn’t have any kind of improvement in recovery rates post injection from corticosteroids. So I decided to take a deeper dive into corticosteroids as a recovery method for sports injuries and stumbled upon a pretty informative article. The article “Recurrent hamstring muscle injury: applying the limited evidence in the professional football setting with a seven-point programme” by Peter Brukner, Andrew Nealon, Christopher Morgan, Darren Burgess, and Andrew Dunn discusses hamstring injuries among football players and the recovery methods used. They mention one player who used corticosteroids as a recovery method and here’s what they said “an epidural corticosteroid injection was performed…Postinjection the player reported a general improvement in his feeling of ‘freedom’ on the right side and felt able to swing his legs through fully…Five days later he started another pre-season game. After 5 min, he sprinted with the ball and crossed the ball with a whipping action and immediately felt some tightness in his hamstring, without an associated feeling of tearing or pain, and was thereafter unable to sprint with confidence.” Quite an interesting order of events as it seems that corticosteroids essentially mask the pain/ease symptoms but might not actually repair muscles.

Maybe corticosteroids may not in fact help with any kind of recovery, so let’s dive into the article “Taking Anabolic Steroids After a Sport Injury” by Samuel Mckenzie from the media outlet News Medical Life Sciences, which studies the effects of corticosteroids vs anabolic steroids in relation to muscle strains/contusion injuries. One specific experiment was conducted on rats who suffered muscle contusions and the results are quite informative. The article states “Initially, the corticosteroid group showed great improvements to twitch and tetanic strength, but later these improvement reversed and resulted in the degeneration of the muscle. The anabolic steroid group showed no initial improvements, but by 14 days showed significant improvements to twitch tetanic strength without the degeneration of the muscle. The authors concluded that that corticosteroids were helpful in the short-term but detrimental to long-term muscle repair and anabolic steroids could improve muscle repair and aid in the healing of muscle contusion injury.” If we know that corticosteroids don’t lead to long term healing and actually degrade our muscles, anabolic steroids need to be heavily considered for treatment. Baseball’s best players shouldn’t be off the field with injuries when we have proven remedies that are readily available to increase their recovery rates.

If we know one thing it’s that times are certainly going to forever change. With the changing of the times we learn from our pasts. I think Major League Baseball is far enough beyond the era of steroid abuse and the advances made in medicine, technology, and overall knowledge could make it so that we never see steroid abuse like we saw in the 1990’s and early 2000’s in Major League Baseball again. We’ve come to a time where we’ve essentially mastered the negatives of these banned substances so we’re probably smart enough to figure out a way in which only the positive effects are used in an appropriate manner.


Epidemiology and Impact of Abdominal Oblique Injuries in Major and Minor League Baseball Christopher L. Camp,* MD, Stan Conte,†‡ PT, DPT, ATC, Steven B. Cohen,§ MD, Matthew Thompson,|| MD, John D’ Angelo,{ BS, Joseph T. Nguyen,# MPH,
and Joshua S. Dines,** MD. Retrieved March 29, 2023

Major League Baseball’s Minor League Drug Prevention And Treatment Program.“. (2021). Retrieved March 29, 2023,

nn.“Recurrent Hamstring Muscle Injury: Applying the Limited Evidence in the Professional Football Setting with a Seven-Point Programme.” Brukner, Peter, Andrew Nealon, Christopher Morgan, Darren Burgess, and Andrew Du; British Journal of Sports Medicine. BMJ Publishing Group Ltd and British Association of Sport and Exercise Medicine, June 1, 2014. . 

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1 Response to Causal Rewrite- Gobirds115

  1. davidbdale says:

    After reading your first two paragraphs, I can see the best use of my feedback time will be to react to your overall argument with questions your claims raise in my mind AS I’M READING THEM. I won’t read ahead to see if you’re going to answer them. At the end, consider yourself advised to answer the unanswered questions.

    —You say you understand why MLB cracked down, but you don’t say WHY. Was the abuse embarrassing? Did it cost the owners money? Did the sport suffer a loss of popularity?
    —Instead of saying there are cases substances are “necessary,” why not say MLB “acknowledges” their necessity? That’s a much stronger claim than you saying so.
    —Is this Program available ONLY at the Minor League level? The name says so.
    —How is “if they really must” determined now?
    —Is it your proposal that substances should be permitted in every case where, as you say, “banned substances could make an impact on recovery rates”?

    —Surely every player’s capabilities are ALREADY measured pre-season. Maybe they’re also drug-tested. I don’t know. But I want YOU to know if this massive effort you propose HAS TO BE A DUPLICATION of existing efforts. Does it require ITS OWN tests?
    —The details of “injury thresholds” and “diminishment” are REALLY squirmy, GoBirds. I’m wondering if there can’t be a simple negotiation to achieve agreement between parties. You can use ONLY A, B, and C if you’re on the 10-day disabled list, for example, but you can use X, Y and Z if you land on the 60-day disabled list.

    —You set the terms. What are they? Would players who suffer an oblique injury and miss 3 or 4 weeks of playing time qualify on your terms as “significantly diminished” enough to get a “Therapeutic Exemption”?
    —You say they already receive corticosteroid injections. So, do they need an Exemption?
    —You also say they didn’t help much?
    —Are you saying there’s something more effective they COULD receive if the rules were different?
    —Why did you waste a paragraph on this specific case without telling us WHY it’s so important to you?

    —How long will you make us wait for an answer? We’d like an example of a case in which your Program would achieve Positive Results.
    —What is the argument value of the football example?
    —Why is it important to attack the usefulness of corticosteroid injections?
    —Was this ONE PLAYER’s experience consistent with the rest of the study? It’s odd to get a long quote about just one participant.

    —Why would I still be reading if you were not my beloved student?
    —This “long fuse” approach to arguing will not work in today’s world, GoBirds.
    —Will you finally satisfy my curiosity at the end of this long quote about rat muscles?
    —When we will get some evidence that baseball players need access to a substance currently banned by the league?
    —Would you be willing to move that sentence up about 4 paragraphs, please? Readers deserve to know BEFORE P5 that you’re going to argue SPECIFICALLY for access to anabolic steroids if their oblique injuries will keep them off the field for more than a few days.
    —Would you be willing to consider a new Injury List designation?
    —How long would a pitcher, say, need to be on the DL with current therapies?
    —How long would the same player be recommended to stay on the DL with anabolic steroids?
    —Is there enough incentive from the player/team to accept a longer Disabled status in return for access to the anabolics?

    —Why do advances in medicine make future steroid abuse unlikely?
    —How have we “mastered the negatives” of banned substances?

    Solid work, GoBirds, but you really need to solve the organization problem. Don’t string us along, please. Let us know early that you’re going to recommend a sanctioned use of anabolic steroids for seriously injured players because they’re so much more effective than the legal corticosteroids. Then argue it in detail. We’ll be very grateful.


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