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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

No Holds Barred: Dr. Margaret Goodman 

On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman once again speaks with Dr. Margaret Goodman, the president and board chairman of VADA, the Voluntary Anti-Doping Association.

In a little over a year of existence, VADA has had a major impact on the combat sports. Another step forward will be taken this week when the first MMA fighter to complete the VADA pre-fight drug-testing program, Bellator welterweight champion Ben Askren, defends his title on January 24 against Karl Amoussou.

But a lot more needs to be done, especially in the combat sports, to educate people on the dangers of performance-enhancing drugs.

"It's always been amazing to me that the public gets so up in arms when they think a decision wasn't judged properly," said Dr. Goodman in this interview, which was recorded by phone Tuesday.

"But I cannot for my life imagine why the fans, who really can have a strong voice and put pressure on these athletic commissions, don't speak out when they see that an athlete has tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance, and they themselves the fans watched that fight under false pretenses."

We discussed the growing use of these substances even among children, and the book by Dr. Robert C. Cantu, "Concussions and Our Kids", which advocates that children under the age of 14 should be restricted from participating in contact sports where there is the likelihood of head trauma.

In addition, we discussed the continuing widespread granting of therapeutic-use exemptions for testosterone, especially in MMA, without proper medical testing and evaluation. We discussed the relationship between drug use and CTE, chronic traumatic encephalopathy. We commented on the suicide at age 43 last year of popular NFL linebacker Junior Seau, who suffered from CTE.

And we discussed what all this might mean in future years and decades for sports like boxing, kickboxing, American football, MMA, and ice hockey, where head trauma is part of the sport itself. We also discussed the Lance Armstrong situation, the need for further study of the effects of chokes on the brain in sports like grappling, what the public can do on these issues, and much more.

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