Yes, you read that correctly. For those of you that don’t operate in the sports universe like I do (I assume most of you), it is Super Bowl week. The media is concerned with many topics: brothers coaching against each other and how a double murder ten years ago affects a players legacy. But with any large sporting event, there is always a considerable amount of woo. Holographic bracelets and KT tape anyone? However, this week I am giving accolades to Sports Illustrated for busting  S.W.A.T.’s company reputation on a big stage. No, not the saviors in trucks that bust up drug deals, but Sports With Alternatives To Steroids — Athletes Competing Without Cheating. Catchy huh?

Southern skeptics get your party pants on. These assholes are based in the heart of the south, Fultondale, Alabama. The owners of the company, Christopher Key and Mitch Ross, have all sorts of classy products they are pushing. Charged water, holograms, and antler spray are just a few. They play parlor tricks with cell phones and they use  words like ‘radio waves’ and ‘radiation’ to convince college and professional athletes of their legit shit. Guess how many degrees in science they have between them? Zero.

From swatsedge.com

From swatsedge.com

Negatively charged water ehh? Here is a screen shot of their website. As a chemist (with real science degrees), I can’t pretend to parse through the vast amount of crap here. However, it doesn’t take a genius to know that water isn’t charged. It is neutral. Most people figure out that in 7th grade. This stuff is supposedly 10,000x more alkaline than bottled water. Wow that sounds great. So does that mean they are bottling sodium hydroxide (OH-, which is the what happens when you deprotonate water and make it ‘negative’) and giving it to athletes to give them a performance boost? As far as I know this negatively charged water they speak of is a caustic base. Is it this stuff in that mystery S.W.A.T.S. bottle? I doubt it, but who knows!?

From wikipedia.com

From wikipedia.com

In a skeptical audience, I don’t think we really need to delve too deep into the utter bullshit that is holograms. That has been covered, but some of their illustrious products include Performance Chips, Pain Management Chips, and S.W.A.T.S. for your Soles.

***Trigger Warning, this could seriously hurt children*** The sports world has been buzzing this week since President Obama commented that if he had sons, he would think twice about letting them play football due to concussions. Parents– DON’T WORRY! S.W.A.T.S. has an answer for you! Concussion Caps! Just take this do-rag like cap soaked in a ‘fluid’ and the long term effects will be limited for your kid. YAY! Doesn’t that sound great? Not wearing a helmet… nope… just put on this wet cap. At least they have a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that says in the event of serious head trauma, you still need prompt medical attention. Whew, that took a load of my conscience. What didn’t is supposedly Ross has been peddling this to children’s local football leagues.

From: swatsedge.com

From: swatsedge.com

Let’s dig into the main event now. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is a doping agent that has been used in many sports including cycling, football, track and field, and well practically all of them for years now. HGH works by triggering production of Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1), which stimulates systematic body growth. Many sports have had both of these substances banned for ages, but S.W.A.T.S. has an answer for you! Remember, they are all about steroid alternatives?! According to Sports Illustrated, founder Christopher Key said this:

“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.”

The sources on this are a bit sketchy, but supposedly a few players have tested positive for IGF-1 by using antler spray. From what I can conclude though, there isn’t enough IGF-1 to have any profound impact on athletic performance.

A few years ago, athletes were endorsing their products by filming testimonials. Now the scumbags S.W.A.T.S. owners clandestinely record and film conversations with athletes. They use this for marketing purposes now. It is not just athletes that are guilty, they also have holograph stickers they ‘prescribe’ for blood sugar regulation for diabetic ‘patients’. This is infuriating. It is one thing to dupe guys that are already in incredible shape, but messing with a diabetics is lethal.

The bottom line is there are way too many companies like this that exist due to shoddy regulations. It isn’t just these guys. These guys are getting media attention this week because (allegedly) they happened to have assisted the star of this week’s big game, Ray Lewis. recover from an injury. The point is these things happen all the time. The skeptic community needs to continue to fight the good fight here to ensure concussion caps, negative water, and blood sugar regulating holograms stay off the market.

Jacqueline

Jacqueline

Jacqueline, a true Floridian, wandered up to the tundra of Athens, Georgia to receive her PhD in computational quantum chemistry. Returning to her roots, she is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in Tampa in the field of computational biochemistry investigating the wonders of penicillin-like drugs. When she is not slaving over the computer, her varied interests include international travel, Brazilian jiu jitsu, kickboxing, fancy food, (American) football, and Belgian quadrupels. She is also the founder of EligibleReceiver.com, a football blog with an exclusive female writing staff. Check out her sports ramblings there or follow her on Twitter @jhargis9.

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15 Comments

  1. Avatar of James Fox
    January 31, 2013 at 12:14 pm —

    That deer antler extract spray is banned by the NFL makes me smile. I can only hope that rhino horn, hubris and tiger gall bladders are also banned.

    • Avatar of spurge
      January 31, 2013 at 3:01 pm —

      Vijay Singh is also in hot water over this. It is banned by the PGA too.

      • Avatar of Jacqueline
        January 31, 2013 at 3:05 pm —

        I read that and laughed. Professional athletes try to get an edge no matter what, but 40+ golfers. It is interesting that the antler spray spotlight is hitting a sport known for Rolex and luxury car endorsements.

        • Avatar of James Fox
          January 31, 2013 at 4:57 pm —

          I’m not surprised given fitness is a very big thing in pro golf these days because the competition is tougher and the prize money is bigger than it’s ever been. Also golfers don’t make money when they are injured as opposed to professional athletes in team sports who get paid if they are unable to play. The money amounts are huge and a crap left handed pitcher can make 12 million a year; so getting back on the field or golf course is really important and that’s what PED’s are all about and why people will continue to try and beat the doping rules.

  2. Avatar of Plittle
    January 31, 2013 at 8:04 pm —

    I get a bit of a kick out of this. Here are two pertinent facts to absorb:
    1) The form of IGF-1 present in deer antlers cannot be metabolized by the human body, and…
    2) Even human IGF-1 will not penetrate the skin. It must be injected to be effective.
    So, these pro athletes are paying whatever the heck they’re paying for a banned substance that can get them fined, suspended or fired from their jobs… that doesn’t even work. Go back to your Q-Ray bracelets and PowerBalance bands, you silly gits.

    • Avatar of Buzz Parsec
      February 1, 2013 at 2:12 pm —

      Some of this stuff is supposed to be sprayed under the tongue. (Loads of blood vessels very close to the surface and no skin to get in the way. That’s where they say you should put an aspirin for a heart attack victim.) Does #2 still apply?

      Deer seem to be invasive, rather then endangered, at least around here. Maybe someone should flood the Chinese <scarequotes>medicine</scarequotes> market with cheap fake rhinoceros horn made from ground-up deer antlers and drive the rhino poachers out of business?

      • Avatar of Jack99
        February 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm —

        “Does #2 still apply?”. IGF-1 is an analogue of insulin with MW 17KD so the answer would be yes.
        Even more so as recombinant IGF-1 is administered as a complex with its binding protein, to reduce rapid renal clearance.

  3. Avatar of Jacqueline
    February 1, 2013 at 8:51 am —

    Oh excellent. I had a hard time digging that information out because the story got so popularized this week. From what I could tell, they were taking just enough to fail drug tests and have no impact.

  4. Avatar of Otoki
    February 1, 2013 at 10:37 am —

    Favorite line: “this stuff is from the Chinese.”

    ORLY?

  5. Avatar of Andrea
    February 2, 2013 at 1:08 am —

    Maybe it’s just me, but the “athlete / muscleman” photo reminds me of those warnings about the side effects of anabolic steroids; he looks like he’s checking to see if his gonads are shrinking.

    How long can this “wisdom of the ancients” nonsense keep rolling? (Yeah, yeah, I know: forever.) But seriously, if Antler was such a super treatment, Chinese athletes would have beat everyone since they began competing in the Olympics!

    But fake treatments for diabetes or preventing concussions are worrysome. WTF can’t the FDA close down places like this?

  6. Avatar of phlebas
    February 3, 2013 at 10:37 am —

    Excellent post — although I will continue to mock the athletes and fans of the University of Alabama for the deer antler thing. (The NCAA is coming for YOUUUUUUUUU! MWA-hahahahahaha)

    • Avatar of Jacqueline
      February 4, 2013 at 1:42 pm —

      This made me join in your evil laugh. LSU players did it too. Even better…

  7. Avatar of talover
    February 8, 2013 at 11:18 am —

    I know this guy and he is a complete nutcase. I graduated with Christopher key and he was a respectable and rational person back in the day but something happened to make him flip. I live just minutes away from his SWATS headquarters in Fultondale, Alabama where we both went to school there. I sometimes engage him in conversation about this spray and his other specialty products on Facebook. He just made this comment today as of 2/8/2013, From: Christopher Key @ S.W.A.T.S.
    “I am not a doctor, I do not practice medicine without a license. Anything I say is my opinion which I believe to be back by scientific research and protected by the first amendment of free speech. I’m also exercising my right to freedom of religion under the First Amendment to the Constitution of these United States of America.Do not beleive anything i say,take it with a grain of salt and you need to go do your own research.the truth will make you free but most people can’t handle the truth.”

    • Avatar of Jacqueline
      February 8, 2013 at 11:26 am —

      Wow, interesting that you know this guy. I guess it is OK to hurt people if you believe there is scientific research to back it up and the Constitution. Yay!

      Interesting to know that he has devolved since high school. It mostly goes the other way.

  8. Avatar of talover
    September 6, 2013 at 4:30 am —

    I have an update regarding SWATS. It seems that the DA has stormed the SWATS headquarters in Fultondale, Alabama and shut them down because of deceptive practices and false claims about their products…..who would have thought that? I suppose my old school buddy will have to find work some where else! Here is the link: http://www.njeffersonnews.com/local/x31540369/Attorney-generals-office-shuts-down-S-W-A-T-S-alleging-deceptive-trade-practices

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