Monday, November 18, 2013

the last book I ever read (League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth, excerpt two)

from League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions and the Battle for Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru:

Webster’s training regimen included anabolic steroids. Decades later, this would still be a matter of debate in some circles, but the evidence was conclusive. Most notable was Webster’s own admission: At least two reports in his lengthy medical file contained references to steroids. In 1993, less than three years after Webster retired, a Pittsburgh doctor reported: “He took anabolic steroids for a very short time when he was in his twenties.” Another report in 1993, based on a doctor’s conversation with Webster, asserted that he “only rarely experimented with steroid use” during his playing career. Those reports contradicted Webster’s repeated public denials and almost certainly understated the extent of steroid use.

Webster’s involvement with performance-enhancing drugs coincided with their emergence in the NFL, which didn’t officially ban steroids until 1983. At least two of Webster’s teammates, running back Rocky Bleier and guard Steve Courson, later admitted using steroids while they were legal. Courson, who was killed in 2005 when a tree fell on him while he was cutting it down, asserted “unequivocally” in his 1991 autobiography, False Glory: Steelers and Steroids, that 75 percent of his teammates on the offensive line used steroids. Bleier, in an interview, said he also saw Webster take amphetamines before and during games and wondered if his drug use later affected him. “I mean, the question with Mike has always been, the effect of steroidal use on his body—did this have an effect or not—and then taking amphetamines during the game,” Bleier said. “It was all legal stuff at the time, but there was still a stigma.”

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