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NFL Backs Groups' Support of Legislation

May 1, 2003 | AP The NFL has joined athletic and medical groups in supporting legislation that would regulate ephedra and other dietary supplements.

The U.S. Olympic Committee, the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and other medical groups also support the legislation introduced in Congress by Rep. Tom Osborne of Nebraska, the longtime Cornhuskers' football coach, as well as several others.

"We have been outspoken about the health risk and dangers due to the presence of anabolic steroid precursors and ephedra in dietary supplements," said Harold Henderson, executive director of the NFL Management Council.

The NFL banned ephedra after the death of Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Korey Stringer during training camp in 2001. Players are tested and can be suspended after the first violation, as rookie star Julius Peppers of Carolina was for the final four games of last season after he tested positive for the supplement.

The league is looking into using one authorized supplier for dietary supplements. Peppers and other players have said they unknowingly took ephedra because they were unaware it was in a supplement they were using.

The move for legislation intensified earlier this spring when ephedra was linked to the death of Baltimore Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler, who collapsed and died after a workout in February.

Among the other sports organizations in the new group are USA Track and Field, USA Swimming, USA Boxing, USA Luge, the U.S. Biathlon Association and the U.S. Soccer Federation.

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