The NFL and players union are meeting Wednesday in Washington in an attempt to reach agreement on testing procedures for human growth hormone as early as the upcoming season.
Both sides already have closed in on conducting a population study that has been a key demand by the players before HGH testing is implemented.
The labor agreement that ended the NFL lockout in 2011 requires the league gain union approval before testing players for HGH. The union says it favors testing, but has reservations about the appeals process. The union also has concerns about the way discipline will be handed out, and wants to collectively bargain that issue.
An email obtained by The Associated Press from the NFL Players Association on Monday indicated that the league and the NFLPA have jointly hired a doctor to conduct a study on NFL players to determine an accurate threshold for a positive HGH test. The email was sent by the union to players, in part to explain that the study requires them to have blood drawn during their physical when training camp begins. The email said the blood samples will only be used for the study, which would mean further blood tests for players once an overall agreement is reached.
Supplemental HGH is a banned substance that is hard to detect and used by athletes for what are believed to be a variety of benefits, whether real or only perceived — such as increasing speed and improving vision.
Among the health problems connected to HGH are diabetes, cardiac dysfunction and arthritis.