Ominous Breakthroughs in Doping:
The Suspicious Tale of Dr. Anthony Galea
I have become very jaded in my outlook on professional sports in the last few years especially in regards to major league athletes using performance-enhancing drugs. I really have no idea who is using and who isn’t using these drugs and are probably, like the majority of people who will read these words, skeptical of any athlete who suddenly begins an assault upon either his own personal best production of a given year or any assault upon a benchmark or record of any sports statistical category of note, e.g., the home run category in MLB. Unfortunately, it now appears as any time any athlete does something that is out of the ordinary that the cry from the mottled masses will be, “Is he juicing?” And in some cases, we will never know. It is an unfortunate residue of what has transpired from the steroid era, especially in my most beloved sport, baseball.
Now I read in the newspaper that Mary Anne Catalano is to appear before a federal grand jury in Buffalo in mid-July. Catalano, remember, is the one whose arrest at the US/Canadian border last year provided the impetus into opening an investigation into whether Toronto physician Anthony Galea provided PEDs to professional athletes. Catalano just recently pled guilty in Buffalo federal court to making a false statement to federal authorities when, after she was stopped for a routine border check as she entered into the US , border agents found human growth hormone among her “luggage” that she was transporting in her car. Initially she told the agents that her employer, Galea, had asked her to transport the drugs along with other equipment, homeopathic drugs and files to be used at a medical conference. After an interrogation by the federals, she soon changed that story to say that, in fact, she was transporting the drugs and equipment to Galea so he could treat a professional athlete in the Washington DC area.
None of this is new as it has been widely reported since last year (ed note: 2009) and most people reading this, especially those with an eye and ear out for any morsel involving PED use in sports, knows the full details of what Galea is probably all about — including his supposed treatment of professional athletes with the use of plasma-rich platelet treatment, in which blood is drawn from the athlete, spun in a centrifuge and then re-injected into injured joints to help accelerate the athlete’s healing. That in and of itself is actually a mundane medical treatment and somewhat arguable, in some circles, as to whether it is actually useful to help athletes heal or not. But for all the controversy involved with that treatment, two things are obvious: that the treatment is neither illegal nor does it use illegal drugs. In fact, there are no drugs involved whatsoever.
Or are there?
When Catalano pled before the court, she did so with a plea agreement that included in her statement that she saw Galea place human growth hormone, a banned drug by professional leagues in the US and approved for only limited medical use otherwise in the US , into spun blood.
This opens a whole other can of worms that hitherto had not entered into my mind previously (and probably not into many other readers’ minds, either). As jaded as is my outlook on the veracity of athletes and their achievement of certain new standards in sports as pertains to setting records or establishing new personal statistical plateaus, I would still like to believe that a certain large percentage of athletes — whether because they are innately honest, or that they are so damn good that they don’t need any artificial help, or maybe just so scared to death of getting caught or any other possible reason or combination of the preceding — just would not or do not use PEDs. But what if they were treated by someone like Galea… who in his obvious greed, driven either by a need for fame or fortune or both, will use any means at his disposal to show an athlete that he can make them better and stronger, quicker and more efficiently, than any other medical professional or group? If he could show that, then he would have all types of athletes flocking to be treated to his offices. Athletes such as Carlos Beltran, José Reyes, Alex Rodriguez, Tiger Woods, as well as numerous other professional football players such as Washington Redskins receiver Santana Moss who is widely accepted as the athlete that was to be treated with the human growth hormone being transported by Catalano last year.
How many athletes were treated by Galea or any other similar so-called medical professional who placed a performance enhancing drug into a supposedly drug-free treatment such as platelet treatment unbeknownst to the patient? How many athletes could have been subjected to either suspension of their rights to pursue their athletic career or arrest or both because of this obviously unethical and illegal treatment (and in fact outright fraudulent) tactic by a supposed medical professional?
The whole scenario is actually quite mind-boggling. A potentially innocent athlete could now be found to be guilty of using PEDs when he could honestly say he had no idea at all how or why any PEDs were within his system. Because of the heinous action of a highly immoral, unethical and criminally greedy person some other person’s professional career, reputation and credibility could be ruined forever as well as whatever legitimate claim to riches or fame that person might have would be lost irreparably for ever.
I for one hope that if Galea is found to have actually placed any PED into any treatment that was purported to be drug-free and used it to treat any athlete, or even any other patient such as a weekend warrior, then the full extent of the law must be used to prosecute and incarcerate this heinous piece of human flesh that would prey upon the lives of those who would trust in his professional abilities to heal as safely as possible. For it is somewhere written that the first rule of an physician to adhere to is “to do no harm”, and the man called Dr. Anthony Galea has violated and destroyed that trust if he indeed did add PEDs into any platelet treatment of any person at any time, anywhere.
There is a phrase from the great Sir Walter Scott, who said, “O what a tangled web we weave, when we practice to deceive.” I submit that the same occurrence takes place when any of us subjugates our moral and human responsibility to each other when we succumb to greed. In the end, it is just another manifestation of lying when it all comes down to it.
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