deer
Jon Dunning

Not to hate on America’s most popular sport, but football can be strange and professional athletes stranger. There is a great kerfuffle in the sports world over a bunch of football players who have been taking supposedly performance-enhancing supplements containing extracts from deer antler velvet. It comes in pill or spray form. Its purveyors claim it stimulates muscle growth.

From Sports Illustrated, here’s the hard sell on deer antler spray:

“We have deer that we harvest out of New Zealand,” Key said. “Their antlers are the fastest-growing substance on planet Earth … because of the high concentration of IGF-1. We’ve been able to freeze dry that out, extract it, put it in a sublingual spray that you shake for 20 seconds and then spray three [times] under your tongue. … This stuff has been around for almost 1,000 years, this is stuff from the Chinese.”

Since football is also the most popular sport in China, if Chinese people have decided that ingesting powdered deer antler velvet is worth it, clearly it’s worth it. One thousand years of history and a bunch of guys who run around concussing each other can’t be wrong.