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Colts Football Player Mathis: Suspended for Clomid Therapy?

a blog by Kim Griffiths, May 28, 2014

You’ve probably heard of Clomid as a treatment for female infertility, but what about Clomid for addressing male factor infertility? Or even covering up steroid use in professional sports players?

Earlier this month, the NFL suspended Indianapolis Colts Pro Bowl pass rusher Robert Mathis without pay for the first four games of the upcoming season. The suspension was issued on the premise that Mathis violated the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy as he tested positive for the prescription drug Clomiphene Citrate (Clomid).

Mathis claims the drug was prescribed to help him and his wife conceive: "It is difficult for me to address the circumstances surrounding this suspension because they involve very personal medical information, but it is very important to me that my fans, particularly young people, understand what did and did not occur. Like many families, my wife and I faced fertility challenges, and I sought medical assistance,” Mathis said in an official statement.

Clomid is not currently approved by the FDA for use by male patients; however male fertility experts frequently recommend off-label use of the fertility drug to improve sperm counts. Clomid works by binding to receptors in the brain, thereby increasing Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH) production. FSH stimulates egg follicle growth in females and sperm development in males.

“I specifically asked the doctor if the medication he prescribed for me would present a problem for NFL drug testing, and unfortunately, he incorrectly told me that it would not. I made the mistake of not calling the NFL or NFLPA to double check before I took the medication at the end of last season,” Mathis continued. Despite Mathis’ claim that he was not properly advised by his doctor, the NFL rules clearly state that the player is responsible for his own prescription drug use. NFL physicians are also available to properly educate players in accordance with prescription drug use guidelines.

The controversy here lies in the fact that athletes have been suspended in the past for off-label use of Clomid as a steroid masking agent. Mathis’ willingness to share medical records, however, suggests he may be telling the truth though his suspension will not be lifted. He will be eligible to return to the Colts’ active roster following a September 28 game against the Tennessee Titans. Fortunately, Mathis and his wife are expecting a baby (presumably as a result of fertility treatment).

Do you think Robert Mathis is telling the truth about his fertility struggles? Did he use Clomid to increase his sperm count? Tell us your thoughts on at the Fertility Treatment Water Cooler forum.

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