This isn't the first time hCG has been a presence in the sports news cycle. Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez was suspended for 50 games last year when he was found to have a prescription for hCG. And in October of 2008, admitted steroid user, author and reality TV star Jose Canseco was detained at the U.S.-Mexico border near San Diego for trying to bring hCG into this country from Mexico.
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In the case of Cushing, the positive September test for which he earned his suspension showed elevated levels of hCG. As Schefter's initial report on Twitter indicated, that hormone is naturally produced by the human body. It indicated pregnancy in females and can indicate testicular cancer, among other things, if found at elevated levels in males.
But what Schefter's initial report overlooked was the role hCG plays in the steroid community, where it is used along with other drugs like Clomid to help counteract the effects of anabolic steroids and steer the body back toward its normal processes when the user cycles off of the anabolics. The use of certain anabolic steroids artificially increases testosterone in the body, and when that happens the body reduces (or even shuts down) its natural testosterone production. So, when the cycle ends, many users will take hCG to restore the size of their testicles (yes, they shrink when they stop producing testosterone) and restore the body's testosterone production.
So that's why hCG on the banned list. The fact that the human body produces it naturally is nearly irrelevant to Cushing's case, because the most common reason a human body produces it is if that body is pregnant (extremely unlikely in this case). It's doubtful Cushing has cancer, since he would undoubtedly have been tested for that and we'd have learned of it by now. The most likely reason it was found in Cushing's positive test is the reason it's on the banned list -- because it's part of a steroid regimen. Nothing that came out this morning should change anybody's opinion on Cushing or his suspension.