Overtrained athlete syndrome? Really?

August, 9, 2010
8/09/10
4:56
PM ET
The Brian Cushing camp had months to come up with one last strategy to make a plea for a reduced suspension for a failed peformance-enhancing drug test that revealed a heightened level of HCG and it came up with ...

Overtrained athlete syndrome.

That leaves me with so many questions.
  • Did commissioner Roger Goodell manage to keep a straight face when Texans owner Bob McNair presented that today at the league office?
  • Is the league bracing for an epidemic? Is the World Anti-Doping Agency prepared?
  • What variations can we come up with? Surely there is an “Overworked schoolteacher syndrome.” I’m sensing an onset of “Blogger overwriting syndrome” by midseason.
  • Could this take off in the pop culture vernacular like “I’m taking my talents to South Beach” has?
  • For thousands of dollars, couldn’t doctors have come up with something more scientific sounding? Hell, Doug Farrar made a couple calls and came up with a better way to fight the test result.

If Cushing did nothing wrong and is being punished by the system, the test or his biology, that is incredibly unfortunate. But surely someone said some of this stuff out loud as his team put together his defense and realized how it sounds -- like a "Saturday Night Live" skit.

If such a thing exists, how is Cushing the first athlete we've ever heard of who suffers from it?

As he talked through it after morning practice, he tacitly admitted the defense won’t work because he talked of preparing for a 12-game season.

In choosing to revive the issue, Team Cushing opened the door for sarcastic interpretations like this one. If he deserves differently, I hope he gets it and I'll revise my stance.

In the meantime, I issue a challenge to the next NFL player who tests positive under the league policy against PEDs:

If you step forward and say you actually tried to get around the system, I will lead a round of applause and completely have your back. Surely not everyone is an innocent victim of the system, don’t you think?

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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