Ryan Braun doesn’t fit the image fans have when they hear that a power hitter has been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs.
Since he joined the Milwaukee Brewers in 2007, Braun has belted big home runs not with cartoonishly large muscles, but with a sweet swing and an ultra-quick bat. Last season, he helped drive the Brewers to the playoffs and was voted the NL’s Most Valuable Player.
Braun now finds himself fighting a 50-game suspension after news leaked that he has tested positive for a banned substance. He maintains his innocence.
A spokesman for Braun said in a statement issued to ESPN and the Associated Press that there are “highly unusual circumstances surrounding this case which will support Ryan’s complete innocence.”
Braun has dealt with nagging injuries in recent years. Though he has appealed the ruling, there is a long history of athletes accused of taking banned drugs insisting they did so to recover from injuries.
Dr. Susannah Briskin, a primary-care sports-medicine physician with Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, says the potential injury recovery benefits associated with anabolic steroids have been tested on a limited basis but only on animals.
“This stuff will never end up being studied with humans,” Briskin said. “Any medical study must start with, ‘Do no harm.’ The problem is, there’s been a lot of harm proven in studying anabolic steroids.”
According to a document on the Mayo Clinic’s website, the potential injury-recovery benefits of performance-enhancing drugs are part of their appeal to athletes.
“Besides making muscles bigger, anabolic steroids may help athletes recover from a hard workout more quickly by reducing the muscle damage that occurs during the session,” the document says.