The Roar
The Roar


A short history of pharmacological experiments

With the WADA hack, drugs in sport just got murkier. (Image: Organised Crime And Drugs In Sport Report)
Roar Pro
19th August, 2013

With the announcement of new retrospective legislation, ASADA is faced with a backlog of pharmacological experiments to investigate. We await new disclosures on the following cases.

399 BC
On coach’s instructions, Athenian full back Socrates consumed hemlock. Supporters of Socrates maintain that hemlock did not enhance Socrates’ performance.

44 BC
Roman coach Julius Caesar collapsed after being administered multiple injections by Roman senators.

Observing the line of players awaiting their turn, Caesar’s last words were, “Eh tu, Zaharakis?”

33 AD
Nazareth footballer Jesus Christ threw a wild party on the afternoon before his final game.

The details of this pharmacological free-for-all were not revealed until Essendon reject Michelangelo painted ‘The Last Supper’ in 1490.

Since then, some have speculated a link between the wild party and Christ’s frequent stumbling the following day while ascending the hill of Calgary.

1219 AD

Genghis Khan used gunpowder in a pre-season game against Persia and then later against eastern European teams. AFDA officials who complained about the performance-enhancing effects of gunpowder were beheaded.

With this clarification of the rules, European teams conducted their own pharmacological experiments with gunpowder and found this a useful supplement in matches against indigenous teams all over the world.

1939 AD
Sports Scientist Dr. Howard Florey demonstrated the use of penicillin to kill some types of bacteria.


Essendon officials at the time queried the value of penicillin, noting it only had curing properties, not performance enhancing ones.

1968 AD
Ahead of a 1968 away game between the United States and the Vietcong, the US airforce sprayed the field with ‘agent orange’. Concern was expressed the following day about the lack of grass on the ground, but US airforce officials pointed out that ‘agent orange’ was not on the AFDA list of banned substances.

Aug 2013
After thrashings at the hands of Hawthorn, Collingwood and Demetriou, an Essendon captain (with a biblical name that means ‘persecuted’) farcically proclaims to his followers that he feels vindicated in having AOD-9604 injected into his stomach to enhance his performance.

His followers make a pact to walk off a cliff with him.

This review suggests that footballers have rarely gained from pharmacological experiments. Like Popeye, they may just be better off eating their greens.