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Media Contact: Ashante Dobbs 27 June 2008    
  (404) 727-5692   Print  | Email ]

Baseball Players' Alleged Steroid Use May Have Provided Performance Advantage
Did steroid use enhance the performance of the "Mitchell 89?" According to Emory University biostatisticians, the major league batters accused of doping appeared to have an advantage over their non-doping peers. The researcher's findings were presented today at the Society for American Baseball Research meeting in Cleveland.

Using information from the infamous 409-page Mitchell Report, Emory's Rollins School of Public Health faculty members Brian Schmotzer and Patrick Kilgo, in collaboration with graduate student Jeff Switchenko, created their own database that tracked the following:

  • The names of the 89 former and current baseball players accused by U.S. Sen. George Mitchell of steroid use
  • The kind(s) of steroids allegedly taken by players (anabolic steroids and/or Human Growth Hormone, or HGH)
  • The seasons between 1995-2007 in which the accused were alleged to have taken performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs)
The team then modeled the effect of PED use on offensive performance among those mentioned in the Mitchell report compared to all other players from the steroid era, adjusting for the players' age.

What they found was a significant and substantial performance advantage for players who used performance-enhancing drugs, particularly steroids, during the study period. It's estimated that offensive production among the accused steroid users increased by about 7 percent to 12 percent versus non-users. The effect of HGH was found to be minimal.

"Previous studies have focused on particular players and whether or not they abused steroids," says Kilgo, senior associate in the biostatistics department at the Rollins School of Public Health. "This analysis looked at all players during the steroid era and arrived at an overall estimate of the advantage to batters."

The Emory team's analysis represents the first attempt to quantify the overall effect of PED abuse on offensive performance in baseball.

To learn more about the analysis or to schedule an interview, call 404-727-5692.

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