Mr. Chairman, Congressman Davis, Members of the Committee, thank you for inviting me to appear before you this morning.
In March 2006 I was asked by the Commissioner of Baseball to conduct an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances in Major League Baseball. When he asked me to accept this responsibility, the Commissioner promised that I would have total independence and his full support. He kept that promise. Last month I completed and made public my report.
Since then, the public discussion has largely focused on the names of players who were identified in the report. I will focus today on the report’s broader findings and recommendations.
I begin with a summary of our conclusions.
1. The illegal use of steroids, human growth hormone, and other performance enhancing substances by well known athletes may cause serious harm to the user. In addition, their use encourages young people to use them. Because adolescents are already subject to significant hormonal changes, the abuse of steroids and other such substances can have more serious adverse effects on them than on adults.
Many young Americans are placing themselves at serious risk. Some estimates appear to show a recent decline in steroid use by high school students. That’s heartening. But the most recent range of estimates is from about 2 to 6 percent. Even the lower figure means that hundreds of thousands of high school-aged young people are illegally using steroids.
It’s important to deal with well known athletes who are illegal users. But it’s at least as important, perhaps even more so, to be concerned about the reality that hundreds of thousands of our children are using these substances. Every American, not just baseball fans, ought to be shocked by that disturbing truth.