Steroids Prescribed To NFL Players
March 29, 2005
A list obtained exclusively by 60 Minutes Wednesday reveals that three Carolina Panthers professional football players had prescriptions filled for a banned steroid less than two weeks before they played in the 2004 Super Bowl.
Contributor Anderson Cooper also reports that two of the players repeatedly refilled their steroid prescriptions -- in one case, 10 times.
Cooper's exclusive report will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Wednesday on March 30, at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
The prescription records, obtained by 60 Minutes Wednesday, show that offensive lineman Todd Stuessie got 11 prescriptions for testosterone cream over an eight-month period in 2004.
That same record also shows that Panthers' lineman Jeff Mitchell filled a testosterone prescription seven times. Todd Sauerbrun, one of the best punters in the NFL, received more than just testosterone. According to the list, he also obtained syringes and Stanozolol, an injectable steroid also banned by the NFL. The prescriptions were written by Dr. James Shortt, a South Carolina doctor.
NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue confirmed at a team owners meeting last week that the league is investigating what happened. David Black, a forensic toxicologist who helped the NFL set up its drug-testing program in the late 1980s, tells 60 Minutes Wednesday that there is a problem if the NFL's testing program didn't catch players receiving so many steroid prescriptions for so long.
"If this continued to go on, under the umbrella of that program, then that program needs to be reevaluated...and have some substantial improvement," says Black.
The NFL says it plans to toughen its screening for testosterone, but there's one banned substance the league doesn't have any test for yet: Human Growth Hormone. Like steroids, HGH can help make big athletes even bigger, but there's currently no reliable test for it.
Shortt was also providing HGH to NFL players, says Mignon Simpson, one of the doctor's former employees, who says she shipped some of the HGH to the players. She also tells Cooper that "possibly a half dozen" professional football players received HGH from the doctor: "The amount and dosage...I don't recall, but I know when things cost...[a] couple of thousand dollars, that's not a little bit."
Despite an ongoing Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, Shortt is still a practicing physician. "This is not even medicine," says forensic toxicologist David Black. "This is better athletes through chemistry."
Shortt declined to be interviewed by 60 Minutes Wednesday for this report, while Mitchell and Steussie did not respond to repeated calls and letters.
When contacted by phone, Sauerbrun said this about Shortt, "I like the guy very much."
Then, 10 minutes later, he called back and said, "Dude, we got our communications confused. I don't know this guy."