Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Tiger Woods and HGH ... How Everything You Once Believed Is Officially Lost Forever
Over the past few years, I've had the "has Tiger Woods done steroids" talk with golf fans and buddies at least 100 times, always defending the golfer because of this argument -- "Tiger is too smart and too focused on winning major championships to do such a thing."
In light of recent events in Tiger's life, I think both those arguments can be tossed out the window, and now, like many others, there is no true knowledge of what Woods has and hasn't done in his life. We all have been waiting for that other foot to drop in the past few weeks, and it appears Human growth hormones (HGH) might be just that.
A Canadian based doctor that worked with Tiger after his knee surgery is under investigation for providing certain athletes with performance-enhancing drugs, according to a report by the New York Times.
The F.B.I. investigation of Dr. Anthony Galea, a sports medicine specialist who has treated hundreds of professional athletes across many sports, follows his arrest on Oct. 15 in Toronto by the Canadian police. Human growth hormone and Actovegin, a drug extracted from calf’s blood, were found in his medical bag at the United States-Canada border in late September. Using, selling or importing Actovegin is illegal in the United States.
Dr. Galea is also being investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police for smuggling, advertising and selling unapproved drugs as well as criminal conspiracy. He is tentatively scheduled to appear in a Canadian courtroom on Friday.
According to the report, Galea and Woods were introduced by IMG after some were concerned that Tiger's knee wasn't healing fast enough after his 2008 operation. Tiger and Galea met at least four times, with Tiger text-messaging Galea after one meeting praising the doctor, where Galea used what is called platelet therapy, a process that puts, "a small amount of the patient’s blood in a centrifuge, which separates the red blood cells from the platelets that release proteins and other particles involved in the body’s healing process." According to the story, the high number of platelets can help speed up the growth of new soft-tissue or bone cells three to 10 times that of normal blood.
Some athletes have referred to Dr. Galea as Miracle Man for his ability to speed up recovery, and his Rolodex includes Dara Torres, Chris Simms and Javon Walker. Apparently, the doctor that headed Tiger's rehabilitation process, Mark Lindsay, asked Galea to take a look at Tiger in February of this year, and that is when the relationship begun.
Tiger's agent, Mark Steinberg of IMG, told the New York Times, after they approached him about the story, "I would really ask that you guys don’t write this? If Tiger is NOT implicated, and won’t be, let’s please give the kid a break.”
Obviously more is to come of this, but right now it seems that a man in trouble for HGH was one of the main reasons Tiger was able to heal as fast as he did in such a short period of time. It is a slippery slope when you assume things early in an investigation, but obviously this is a doctor that has used things that are illegal in the United States before, so to think he wouldn't use them again is a bit shortsighted.
As you probably assume, as you sip your coffee, tons more on this to come. Stay tuned, and follow me on Twitter for breaking news on such events.
Stan Badz,PGA Tour/Getty