While some players contend stimulants are still used regularly by a significant number of athletes on certian National Football League clubs, team physicians - almost to a man dispute this.
Following are the comments of sone NFL team physicians questioned by The Washington Post:
Dr. Robert Kerlan, seven years with the Los Angeles Rams:
"Ten years ago, I think there was much more widespread usage of stimulants in football than there is now. I think the education programs that have been put in motion by the teams and the commissioner's office have been very helpful to physicians in advising players against the attempted use of unnatural stimulants, and making them understand that better conditioning and year-round training is a better 'edge' for the marginal player. . .
"I think we're way past the amphetamine anabolic steroid stage in pro football. That came and went, and it has declined in the colleges, too. . .
"There is always going to be a certain percentage who are going to feel they need an edge and can get it by the surreptitious use of drugs obtained not from a doctor but through street measures. We're constantly on thealert for that . . . We feel very free about taking a blood or urine sample and analyzing it if we suspect something.
"But if taking stimulants doesn't become 'the thing to do' with a small group of players on your club, I think you can stay away from it and not have any bad habits you have to break."
Dr. Donald Fink, Oakland Raiders, three years:
"Stimulant drugs affect a player's concentration. They get so excited, so tensed up, that they lose their concentration significantly.
"A receiver can't even concentrate on the ball from the time it leaves the quarterback's hand to the time it gets to him. A halfback can't do anything but run at the spot he's assigned. He can't adjust to the holes and to the blocking."
Dr. E. Paul Woodward, San Diego Chargers, 13 years:
"It (drug use) has markedly diminished. I think that is largely due to the educational aspect. There is less use in college. The primary people they are still used by are older players - a player that doesn't feel he can still but out enough to keep his job. Drugs are harder to come by now . . .
"I'm not sure you can ever cut off the supply. But there are fewer people dedicated to the idea that they have to have drugs to play. It has been curbed, but if they want to absolutely stop it they would have to use testing. I think the threat of intermittent and unannounced urine tests would end it. If they had a rule with some teeth in it, which would have an effect on the game and not just the individual, that would do it."
Dr. Allan Levy, New York Giants, three years:
"I think amphetamines are used, but not on a large scale. Some players are using them, most of the younger fellows are not. I think it is a hangover from the old days when use was widespread. But it has been choked off in college now so players don't come into the league using them."
Dr. Charles Harrison, Atlanta Falcons, 13 years:
"We suspect there were some older players using uppers, but we could never prove that. I have no first hand knowledge of it. But it never has been much of a problem. We have never given any out. But nowadays, with the publicity that they don't enhance performance, most guys have come to grips with the facts."
Dr. Richard D. Talbott, Denver Broncos, two Years:
"I think the NFL drug regulations are effective, in most cases. It is possible that a player could get drugs by other channels, but that is not a problem in this club.
"We talk to the players, individually and as a team, and we tell them of the bad effects. I think there might be one or two players out of the entire roster (using drugs illicitly). If you're talking about particularly powerful or mind-altering drugs, whatever expression you want to use, it soon becomes obvious in their performances and their behavior."
Dr. Joseph Ellis, formerly of the Buffalo Bills, 22 years:
"Well, it hasn't changed with us because I never allowed it.I was a maverick. If the players got drugs they didn't get them from us, they bootlegged 'em. We were so clean, we were suspect.
"I'm a bit of a stinker. I'm not saying i'm different from the average team physician, but from some of them. I was at a meeting in California once, and a team doctor of a sport other than football said, 'Why don't we give them each two amphetamines and they'll all be equal.' I jumped up and said, 'You're out of your mind.' But we have some people like that in sports medicine."
Dr. John Cadigan, New England Patriots, six years:
"To my knowledge, firsthand contact with the players, we have never had any drug abuse. Now that may seem rather naive, with any groups of young men that size, there is going to be some drug use, but I have never been able to document any."
Dr. Donal Lannin, Minnesota Vikings, 18 years:
"The first year, an expansion team is made up of 70 to 80 percent guys that have been around for about 10 years. We had four or five guys for whom it had been the norm for them to take Benzedrine or Dexedrine on other teams. But it was gone after that first year.
"It never worked its way into the younger players. Now we may have one guy who very occasionally takes something on the side that I don't know about. They know how strongly we feel about this. If we discovered a player, he'd be off the squad. I don't know of a single case where a player could use drugs and perform for 10 years . . .
Dr. Ken Saer, New Orleans Saints, 12 years:
"As far as nonmedical usage of drugs, you don't know what kind goes on . . .
"Using uppers was sort of a fad in the '60s at all levels. In college kids used them to study, they were used by many young people. That has changed drastically.
"Players used them because they thought they improved performance. But now the nonmedical use of drugs is relatively small. As far as marijuana and other recreational drugs, nobody knows."
Dr. Albert Miller, Kansas City Chiefs, 16 years:
"I think they have changed considerably in 16 years. I don't know of anybody that is using drugs to play. I get suspicious occasionally. I have patients that tell me how easy it is to acquire drugs . . . I'd call it quite minimal."
Dr. Lloyd Milburn, San Francisco 49ers, 26 years:
"In the early '60s some players took bennies; we counseled against it. Some teams supplied bennies; that is not our function. Tolerance increases so rapidly that the dosage soon becomes detrimental to your performance, to your career and to your thinking.
"In the late '60s the emphasis on drug use made us wade into the literature and the abuse in athletics. We formed the Team Physicians' Prefessional Society and the league office backed us up. I honestly don't see that it has been a problem for many years.