A bad year for the Eagles got worse yesterday, with the announcement that anabolic steroids were discovered in the dorm room where Garrett Reid passed away in August.
Garrett, the 29-year-old son of head coach Andy Reid, was a volunteer strength and conditioning coach with the Eagles. It was no secret that the younger Reid battled addiction throughout his short life, but in the months leading up to his death it was believed he'd found a passion in weightlifting and strength training.
Further testing is required to determine whether any of these steroids were in Garrett Reid's system at the time of his death. Of course, with the controversies that have surrounded professional sports in recent years, the unanswered question is whether the drugs were intended for distribution.
Sports Doc attempts to address that question through the examination of the four drugs found in Reid's room with the help of Daniel Hussar, PhD, professor of pharmacy at the Philadelphia College of Pharmacy at the University of the Sciences.
Coach Reid stated that his son's decisions "did not affect our football team in any way." In terms of potential distribution of these drugs to players, Dr. Hussar supports the coach's statement.
"I think any professional athlete who would use performance-enhancing drugs would not be using products that are as readily detected as some of these agents are," says Dr. Hussar. "The presence of those particular drugs serves to dispute any theory that he was providing these steroids to players."
Testosterone-Propionate: This was one of the first anabolic steroids made available for human use and is considered the 'grandfather' of testosterone abuse. Users tend to inject testosterone-propionate frequently (about every other day, on average) with the lead 'benefit' being an increase in muscle size. "Due to its natural presence in the body, testosterone is also among the most difficult drugs to detect in testing," added Dr. Hussar.
Testosterone-based steroids are those that cause the best-known detrimental steroid side effects, as the drug is converted into estrogen once in the body. Male users frequently experience fat gain, water retention and testicular shrinkage. Testosterone-propionate usually stays in the system for 1-2 weeks.
Boldenone Undecylenate: This drug is used for more gradual, steady gains in strength over time. As such, it requires far less frequent injections (once a month or so).
Boldenone Undecylenate is known to present fewer and milder side effects than testosterone-based steroids, but one of its effects can be sexual dysfunction. As a result, it's uncommon for a steroid user to use Boldenone Undecylenate without combining it with the usage of a testosterone-based drug.
Nandrolone-Phenylpropionate: The discovery of this drug in Reid's room may have been the greatest surprise. Known to be expensive and difficult to obtain, Nandrolone-Phenylpropionate takes quite a while to produce its desired effect—and even longer to clear out of the system. Nandrolone-based products are known to stay in a user's system for well over one year's time, which can make detection much easier through drug testing.
Trenbolone Acetate: This drug is said by many experts to be one of, if not the strongest anabolic steroid known—providing up to three times the potency of testosterone. When contrasted with testosterone, this steroid is known for producing other well-known steroid side effects—hair loss, acne and aggressive behavior.
"Of those four steroids, only two of them have been commercially available through legal channels," said Dr. Hussar. "But [Reid] wasn't likely to be tested in his role with the team."
According to Dr. Hussar, it is unlikely that any possible steroid use would have triggered Garrett Reid to relapse into using heroin. "These are two very different types of drugs," Hussar stresses. "I don't look at anabolic steroids as physically addictive. I can't state strongly enough the power that medications like heroin have in terms of addiction."