Mononucleosis and EPO – Is There a Connection?

With all this fuss about the use of EPO in cycling in recent years and how laboratorial inject able EPO was practically undetectable until very recently (2003), plus how the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) and other Anti-Doping labs worldwide are suspicious that athletes are freely using performance enhancing drugs namely EPO; some officials are starting to openly vent their frustrations with the shortcomings (underfunding) of the aforementioned agencies.

With recent reports of several athletes contracting mononucleosis, I became curious and I decided to make a search on the internet to see if there was a possibility of a connection between EPO and mononucleosis and I found this startling report (excerpt below).

Author: Paul Schick, MD, Emeritus Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Thomas Jefferson University Medical College; Research Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Drexel University College of Medicine:

“Pure Red Cell Aplasia

  • Respiratory infections, gastroenteritis, primary atypical pneumonia, infectious mononucleosis, mumps, and viral hepatitis may trigger pure red cell aplasia.
  • Importantly, note that EPO-related appears to be a rare complication when one considers that approximately 3 million patients are treated with EPO worldwide. Nevertheless, maintain awareness of the possibility of this complication. In 2002, Casadevall et al recommended that patients receiving EPO should be tested for neutralizing anti-EPO antibodies as soon as possible after the onset of an unexplained anemia.
  • Darbepoetin alfa (Aranesp) has recently been introduced and has a different carbohydrate structure than endogenous EPO. Patients receiving this agent should be monitored closely.
  • Obviously, the administration of EPO for athletic performance should be avoided. ”

“- Medical side effects

EPO commonly “thickens” blood which causes additional circulatory strain as well as damming (clotting) in smaller blood vessels. EPO use is dangerous as it stresses elements in the circulation and quite often is sufficient to precipitate systemic failures that otherwise would function normally under natural levels of stress.”

“What are the side-effects of EPO misuse?

· While proper use of EPO has an enormous therapeutic benefit in the treatment of anaemia related to cancer or kidney disease, its misuse can lead to serious health risks for athletes who use this substance simply to gain a competitive edge. It is well known that EPO, by thickening the blood, leads to an increased risk of several deadly diseases, such as heart disease, stroke, and cerebral or pulmonary embolism. The misuse of recombinant human EPO may also lead to autoimmune diseases with serious health consequences.”

Does this mean, if you have mononucleosis that you have used EPO? No, it could be viral, but if you are an athlete, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency the World Anti-Doping Agency’s (WADA) and other Anti-Doping labs worldwide will have their red flags waving for months!

With this information, I became concerned, because if there are any tennis players out there, champions, champions to be or not champions, before they even think about using EPO, they should be aware of the consequences.

Why risk your life for a medal, a cup or a few dollars more? Players and athletes, just say NO and stay away from EPO! Your health and your life is more important to all of us then if you win.

Yours truly

Sergio Cruz

Source by Sergio Cruz


Tom Brady of New England Patriots says he plans to play this season

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady confirmed his plans to play in 2018 and repeated his goal to extend his career into his mid-40s during an appearance Monday at the Milken Institute Global Conference in California, while detailing why he’s taking a different approach this offseason, staying away from the team’s voluntary offseason program.

“Part of this offseason for me is certainly about still preparing for what’s ahead in my next journey, my next mountain to climb with this group of teammates, but it’s also [acknowledging] that a lot of people are getting the short end of the stick in my life — certainly my wife and my kids,” Brady said in an hourlong conversation with moderator Jim Gray.

“Football is year-round for me. It’s a lot of thought, a lot of energy and emotion put into it, but I need to invest in them, too. My kids are 10, 8 and 5. They’re not getting younger, so I need to take time so I can be available to them, too. … I’ve really spent the last two or three months doing those things, and I think I’m really trying to fill my tank up so that when I do go back, I can go back and I think I’ll actually be, in my mind, a better player, a better teammate, because I’ll be really rejuvenated.”

As for why he plans to keep playing, Brady said, “I have personal goals. I want to keep playing. I’ve said for a long time I want to play to my mid-40s. I was told three years, when I was 36-37, ‘You can’t keep playing; no one wins Super Bowls [at that age].’ It’s a great challenge for me. I think I’ve been challenged my whole life. I feel like I can do it.”

In talking about extending his career, the 40-year-old Brady noted how his routine has evolved over time, and that he feels he can keep playing because he loves the game, is willing to make the commitment, and believes in his plan.

“I have a great system in place that works well for me in order to keep me performing at my highest level,” he said, referring to the TB12 Training Method which he called “part of the second career of my life.”

“What I want to do in the meantime is I want to inspire people through my action. Not tell them what to do, but just show it,” he said.

In the final episode of Brady’s docuseries “Tom vs. Time”, Brady’s wife, Gisele Bundchen, said she wanted Brady to feel happy and appreciated, a topic that came up during Brady’s conversation at the Milken Institute Global Conference.

Asked if he was happy, Brady said, “I have my moments.”

Asked if he is happy with the people he works with and for, Brady said, “Yeah. I would say absolutely. And in general, I’m a very happy person. I’m a very positive person. It’s just my personality, I always look at things as the glass is half full. I think there are different times; when you’ve been on the same team for a long time, you have relationships for a long time, they ebb and flow like every relationship. But there are no people I’d rather play for or be committed to than the team I’ve been with for a long time, and really the fans and the community.”

Asked if he feels appreciated by coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft, and if they have the appropriate gratitude for what he has achieved, Brady said, “I plead the fifth!”

That sparked laughter from the crowd.

“Man, that is a tough question,” Brady continued. “I think everybody in general wants to be appreciated more in their professional life, but there’s a lot of people that appreciate me way more than I ever thought was possible as part of my life. You have different influences in your life and the people I work with, they’re trying to get the best out of me. So they’re trying to treat me in the way they feel is going to get the best out of me, and I’ve got to get the best out of myself.

“I think what I’m learning, as you get older, it comes from within — the joy, the happiness, those things come from inside. To seek that from others, to seek that from outside influences, people you work with, people that cheer against you or cheer with you, I feel like it comes from within for me. So I’m trying to build up what’s within me, so that I can be the best for me, so that I can be the best for other people. That’s part of growing. I’m learning these things, too.”

Of his connection with Belichick, he said, “We’ve had a great relationship, a very respectful relationship for a long time. I feel like he’s the best coach in the history of the NFL. He has a management style [with] players, and he would say, ‘Look, I’m not the easiest coach to play for.’ I agree. He’s not the easiest coach to play for.

“But he’s the best for me. I think what he’s proven is that whatever talent he has, he maximizes his talent. What more could you ask of a coach than that? That’s what I want as a player. … He’s been an incredible coach, he’s been an incredible mentor to me. He’s taught me so much football. To be a 22-year-old kid and come and learn from him, I wouldn’t be sitting here without his coaching. I wouldn’t have the success without how incredibly talented he was, along with a lot of the other coaches, a lot of the other players, a lot of the other people in the organization. Because it takes everybody to do it.”

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Pittsburgh Steelers cut J.J. Wilcox after drafting two safeties

The Pittsburgh Steelers released veteran safety J.J. Wilcox on Monday after selecting two safeties in this weekend’s NFL draft.

The Steelers selected Terrell Edmunds in the first round (28th overall) and Marcus Allen in the fifth round (148th overall). The Steelers also signed safeties Morgan Burnett and Nat Berhe in free agency.

The Steelers created $3.125 million in salary cap space with the move.

Wilcox, 27, was acquired by the Steelers in a trade last year with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who had signed him as a free agent. In his only season in Pittsburgh, Wilcox appeared in 12 games (one start) and finished with 12 tackles, one interception and one pass defensed.

He spent his first four seasons with the Dallas Cowboys, playing in 58 games (38 starts) and recording 214 tackles, five interceptions, 15 passes defensed and two forced fumbles.

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New York Giants had hoped to trade Ereck Flowers during draft

The New York Giants were open to trading Ereck Flowers during the NFL draft. It just didn’t happen, in part because of the price.

The Giants were looking for a mid-round draft pick in return for Flowers, according to a source. That wasn’t going to happen, given the level of his play and contract.

The price was considered significantly too steep for one team, and it ultimately didn’t lure any bites. Flowers is guaranteed $2.4 million this season.

The Giants are now left with a decision to make on a young tackle who has struggled early in his career and has elected to train away from his team this offseason. His status was already considered questionable after a frosty relationship with his fellow offensive linemen and the belief among teammates that he shut it down early last season.

Flowers, 24, remains on the roster, for now. He’ll have to earn his spot this summer.

The University of Miami product has not attended the team’s voluntary offseason workout program, instead opting to train at home in Florida. He was one of the few players who did not participate in the team’s voluntary minicamp last week.

Flowers’ absence hasn’t been lost on Giants’ brass. They were expecting him to compete for the starting right tackle job after Nate Solder was signed to a record deal this offseason to play left tackle.

Coach Pat Shurmur noted last month that he wanted all of his players to participate in the offseason workouts. He thought this extra practice time was invaluable to improve team camaraderie and help players learn new offensive and defensive schemes.

“He’s in Miami, and we’re here. He decided not to come. He’s an adult,” general manager Dave Gettleman said during the draft over the weekend. “He has the ability to make decisions on his own. This is a voluntary program and he’s decided to stay in Miami. If you want to know why he’s not here, call him.”

The Giants selected one offensive lineman in the draft: guard Will Hernandez in the second round. The Giants still have a use for Flowers because of a dearth of offensive tackles.

Chad Wheeler and Flowers were expected to compete for the starting right tackle job. Adam Bisnowaty, last year’s sixth-round pick, could also be in the mix if the Giants don’t add a veteran.

Flowers is in the final season of his rookie contract. The Giants aren’t expected to pick up the fifth-year option available for first-round picks.

Flowers was the ninth selection in the 2015 NFL draft. For now, and likely depending on how he plays at right tackle this summer, he’s still on the Giants’ roster and part of their future.

“Well, I hope so,” Shurmur said Monday during an interview on the Humpty & Canty with Rothenberg show on 98.7 ESPN New York. “At this point, again everything is voluntary, he’s chose to train down in South Florida. But I saw a lot of good thigs from him a year ago on tape. He’s just sort of made the decision to train away.

All of Flowers’ $2.4 million salary is guaranteed for 2018. He’s currently set to count $4.6 million against the salary cap.

The Giants would save $2.2 million against the cap if they cut Flowers at any point before the start of the season.

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Terence Newman back with Minnesota Vikings for 16th NFL season

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings made several critical moves in their secondary on Monday.

The team announced that Terence Newman will return for his 16th season, hours after it exercised the fifth-year option on cornerback Trae Waynes, putting him under contract through 2019.

Newman, who became a free agent in March, said he wanted to come back for another shot at a championship after the Vikings’ season ended in the NFC title game.

The move is an important depth addition for the league’s No. 1 defense and backs Mike Zimmer’s philosophy that a team can never have too many cornerbacks.

“A famous old coach called me this morning and said that one of the reasons he likes me is because he understands that you can never have too many cornerbacks,” Zimmer said last week. “There’s a commercial on TV right now where the lady asks this guy how many guns he needs, and he says just one more. That’s how we feel about corners — just one more. So as many times as we can find guys that can cover around here, the more we want.”

Newman will turn 40 in September and will be the oldest defensive player in the NFL. He leads the league with the most career interceptions (42) among all active players. In 2017, the veteran corner totaled 25 tackles, one interception and five pass deflections.

Coming off his third season in Minnesota in which he played 555 snaps (third highest of all Vikings corners) as the team’s lead nickel corner, Newman will be part of a secondary with newly drafted first-round cornerback Mike Hughes. His veteran presence is an important asset, as cornerbacks like Xavier Rhodes, Waynes and Mackensie Alexander have discussed the benefit of his guidance.

“I probably would not have been making the plays I’ve been making, and been playing the way I’ve been playing, if it wasn’t for him,” Alexander said in January. “He’s been pushing me. He’s obviously seen the talent, and all those kind of things that got me here, and he wanted me to be a better [player]. He always said I had all the ability in the world and it was really just my thought process and the mental part of the game that I needed to grow from.”

Training camp will provide answers on what kind of role the veteran cornerback will play in 2018. Newman is a versatile weapon with extensive experience playing at cornerback and safety and could be used as more of a rotational defensive back based on needs. The depth provided by Minnesota’s wealth of corners is something Zimmer said he is excited to incorporate more of in defensive sub packages after the team drafted Hughes last week.

“I’ve always kind of tinkered around with having one safety and four corners, things like that,” Zimmer said. “It’ll give us some flexibility in what we do in some of the nickel packages.”

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Donald Penn of Oakland Raiders suspected in domestic violence case

ALAMEDA, Calif. — Oakland Raiders left tackle Donald Penn is a suspect in a domestic violence case, the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed Monday morning.

Penn, 35, allegedly slapped his wife’s butt, poured a drink over her head and grabbed her wrist, according to TMZ. LAPD public relations officer Detective Meghan Aguilar said officers responded to a radio call at 9 p.m. Sunday, took a report and turned it over to area detectives.

When officers arrived at the residence, Penn had left the scene, Aguilar said.

Later Monday morning, TMZ reported that Penn and his wife, Dominique, issued a joint statement through their representative Denise White that disputed any physical altercation.

“There was a verbal disagreement, there was NO physical altercation,” the statement said. “The two are in the middle of a divorce and it is a hard time for both parties.”

Raiders owner Mark Davis has a zero-tolerance policy for domestic violence. Davis could not be reached for comment.

Penn, who is recovering from Lisfranc surgery to his right foot after being injured in Week 15 last season, signed a two-year, $21 million contract extension after holding out during training camp last summer. The injury ended Penn’s streak of consecutive NFL starts at 170 games.

The Raiders selected two offensive tackles in the draft: first-rounder Kolton Miller from UCLA and third-rounder Brandon Parker from North Carolina A&T. Penn tweeted “MORE MOTIVATION” after the Thursday night selection of Miller, who was taken 15th overall and is considered to be Penn’s heir apparent at left tackle. Penn later deleted the tweet.

Raiders coach Jon Gruden said Thursday that Miller’s selection had nothing to do with Penn.

“This is about the future of the Oakland Raiders,” Gruden said. “We have an outstanding young quarterback [in Derek Carr], we have a need at the position, and we’re very fortunate to address [it]. But it doesn’t really say anything to Donald Penn.”

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Terrell McClain released by Washington Redskins

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins fortified their defensive line in the draft, making a key free-agent signing from one year ago expendable.

The Redskins released defensive lineman Terrell McClain on Monday, a source told ESPN.

They had signed McClain to a four-year deal worth up to $21 million last offseason. His salary was scheduled to be guaranteed on the fifth day of the league year, but the language in the contract was changed to make it guaranteed for injury only.

McClain will count $3.75 million against the salary cap this season, unless the Redskins make it a post-June 1 designation, allowing them to take part of the hit in 2019.

The Redskins drafted two linemen over the weekend: Alabama‘s Da’Ron Payne in the first round and Virginia Tech‘s Tim Settle in the fifth. They also have two other young linemen — Jonathan Allen and Matt Ioannidis — in their rotation and veterans Anthony Lanier, Ziggy Hood, Stacy McGee and Phil Taylor, whom they recently re-signed.

It didn’t help that McClain wasn’t as productive as Washington had hoped, finishing with 17 tackles and two sacks in 2017. He started two of the 12 games he played, missing weeks 12-15 with a toe injury.

Washington also cut defensive lineman A.J. Francis.

In his seven seasons, McClain has also played for Carolina, New England, Houston and Dallas. He played three years for the Cowboys before signing with Washington.

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Ozzie Newsome’s farewell Ravens draft was pure wizardry – Baltimore Ravens Blog

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Inside the Baltimore Ravens draft room, Ozzie Newsome’s final draft as general manager ended with tears, emotional hugs, a standing ovation and a bold statement from coach John Harbaugh.

“I told Ozzie just as we finished this thing up, I feel like this is his best draft since I’ve been here — heck, maybe the best ever,” Harbaugh said.

Newsome owned this draft, the 23rd of his illustrious career. Each move felt calculated. Each pick came with a purpose.

While at times it felt like Newsome was never going to pick a player, his repeated trades back still landed targeted players and filled needs. Newsome’s maneuver at the end of the first round was one of the shrewdest decisions of the draft and perhaps the best-orchestrated plan of his career.

After three days and 12 draft picks, Newsome addressed the team’s biggest void not once, but twice, with pass-catching tight ends Hayden Hurst and Mark Andrews, selected a onetime top right tackle prospect in Orlando Brown Jr. and landed the franchise’s quarterback of the future with Lamar Jackson.

“I really, really feel very good about this class and how it came to be,” Newsome said. “[I can say] that the Baltimore Ravens — there is no doubt in my mind –- are a better football team and will give us an opportunity to get to not only where we want to go to, but all of our fans and everybody that wears that purple. Let’s get into the playoffs and hopefully get to another Super Bowl.”

Newsome’s reputation for being one of the NFL’s all-time best decision-makers began in his first draft, when he selected two Hall of Fame players (Jonathan Ogden and Ray Lewis) in the first round. His final draft appropriately included two first-rounders and once again showcased his expertise at working the draft.

Starting off with the No. 16 overall pick, the Ravens moved back to No. 22, picking up a third-round pick that was later used for Andrews. Baltimore then fell to No. 25, adding what would be a critical fourth-rounder and allowing the Tennessee Titans to move up for Alabama inside linebacker Rashaan Evans (a reported target of the rival Pittsburgh Steelers).

Despite moving back twice, the Ravens were able to take Hurst, the top tight end on their draft board. What came next could impact the franchise for years to come.

Newome surprisingly traded back into the first round for Jackson. All the Ravens had to give up to jump 20 spots for the former Heisman Trophy winner was a 2019 second-round pick and the fourth-rounder they acquired in one of their trades in the first round. It was crucial for Baltimore to get Jackson in the first round because of the fifth-year option (which second-rounders don’t get), which means the Ravens won’t have to rush Jackson into the starting role.

There will be some second-guessing. Baltimore passed on safety Derwin James at No. 16 and chose not to take wide receiver D.J. Moore at No. 22. The Ravens, though, were executing a long-thought-out plot in the first round.

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Josh Rosen’s best draft weekend quotes: Aaron Rodgers is ‘the dude’ – Arizona Cardinals Blog

TEMPE, Ariz. — Josh Rosen’s reputation as an outspoken and opinionated young man preceded him as he headed into last week’s NFL draft.

After the Arizona Cardinals traded up to make him the 10th pick in the first round Thursday, Rosen lived up to the hype.

He didn’t hold back after falling lower than he thought he should be drafted and then, during his introductory news conference Friday, Rosen was a bit more calm but offered up some gems.

Here’s a look at Rosen’s best quotes from draft weekend:

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Cowboys continue to carry Dak-friendly approach to offseason – Dallas Cowboys Blog

FRISCO, Texas — Two years ago, quarterback Dak Prescott was a fourth-round hopeful for the Dallas Cowboys.

The Cowboys were glad to get him but had no expectations, with Tony Romo returning from an injury-filled 2015.

Two years later, the Cowboys are Prescott’s team. Early in the offseason, owner and general manager Jerry Jones said the team’s approach would be to make everything Dak-friendly.

It started in free agency with the additions of receivers Allen Hurns and Deonte Thompson, as well as offensive lineman Cameron Fleming; it continued with the release of Dez Bryant; and it was carried through the three-day draft that called AT&T Stadium home.

The potential retirement of Jason Witten would not be Dak-friendly, considering how much the young quarterback has relied on the veteran tight end in his first two seasons, but it would strengthen Prescott’s position on the roster, as he would ascend to the top of the leadership tree with linebacker Sean Lee.

While that is contingent on what Witten may or may not do in the next few days, there’s little doubt that what the Cowboys did over draft weekend was designed to help the quarterback.

From linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, the Cowboys’ top pick, to Bo Scarbrough, their last, just about every selection is in some way Dak-friendly. And then there was the addition of receiver Tavon Austin from the Los Angeles Rams in a trade.

In taking Vander Esch at No. 19, Jones had visions of Rolando McClain, who had a great 2014 season as a run and pass defender.

“I am going to steal something from [vice president of player personnel] Will McClay since he is not here,” Jones said. “Will said several times this week, ‘This guy will get us some turnovers.’ He’s got those kinds of instincts and that kind of range. He can get the ball back.”

The more possessions for the offense, the better it is for Prescott.

Second-round pick Connor Williams could be the starting left guard by the time the Cowboys open the season at the Carolina Panthers. If so, the Cowboys would have three first-rounders (Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin), a first-round talent in La’el Collins and a second-rounder protecting Prescott.

“We decided to cure what happened at Atlanta as best we could,” Jones said, alluding to the loss to the Atlanta Falcons in which Prescott was sacked eight times, clouding the remainder of the Cowboys’ 2017 season.

In the third round, the Cowboys found their receiver — if not a replacement for Bryant — in Michael Gallup. He caught 100 passes for 1,413 yards and seven touchdowns in 2017 at Colorado State. He had 60 catches of at least 10 yards.

Bryant was a central part of the Cowboys’ offense for eight seasons and is the franchise leader in touchdown catches with 73. The Cowboys won’t replace Bryant with one receiver. They will do it with many players like Gallup.

“There’s a lot to like about him,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s big, he’s athletic, he plays the game the right way. He’s been a productive player for them, doing a lot of different kinds of things. We feel like he has a real upside, too. A lot of qualities that you want in a young receiver, in a developmental receiver. But a lot of production, too.”

The arrival of Austin opens up creative possibilities for coordinator Scott Linehan. The eighth overall pick in the 2013 draft, Austin has touchdowns as a receiver (12), runner (nine) and returner (three). The Cowboys view him as a space player with ability to create mismatches as a runner and receiver, which could open up room for Ezekiel Elliott and Prescott. And they got him for a sixth-round pick.

“What you try to do is, try to get the ball in his hands a number of different ways,” Garrett said. “When we played the Rams this year, they lined him up as a running back. They tried to hand it to him and throw it to him throughout the year. That’s what people tried to do throughout his career. He certainly is a dynamic guy. We just felt like for the value, he could come into our football team and help us add some explosiveness to our offense.”

On Day 3 of the draft, the Cowboys drafted four more offensive players, including tight end Dalton Schultz (fourth), quarterback Mike White (fifth), wide receiver Cedrick Wilson (sixth) and Scarbrough in the seventh.

“Obviously when you lose a player like Dez and what he’s brought to the field throughout his career, we are remaking our receiving room, if you will, including the coach [Sanjay Lal],” executive vice president Stephen Jones said. “There was obviously some focus there, and as we’ve said from day one, we wanted to create a competitive situation there.

“I do think we wanted to do things as Jerry has said and Jason has said that are Dak-friendly. We want to surround him with good players in a competitive situation so we can have the success that we think we can have. We think in terms of being able to loosen up the defense and keeping them honest so that we can have the running game there that people do respect. We don’t want them to be able to overplay that part of our game. I do think helping our offense out was important.”

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