Being over hydrated and testing positive for a foreign substance are two very different scenarios. The NFL needs to be able to carefully distinguish between the two. The comments in this article from his agents Joe Linta and Seth Katz are 100% accurate. Zach’s surgery had him on 2/3′s of a hamstring tendon as they used 1/3 to replace his ACL. His workouts began at 7:30am and lasted until 5:30pm. He began cramping so he increased his water intake to 1 gallon per day and also increased his potassium intake which minimized the cramping. He went to Indy and followed the same procedures and is now under the list of “Failed drug tests”. Sounds like the NFL will have its hands full defending this stance.
This is something that the media will eat up but at the end of the day, it’s not going to impact his status as a player and should not affect his draft status. All the medical documentation was provided to the NFL as hydration was a necessary part of his rehab.
Zach crushed his rehab program and defined a perfect student in his commitment to getting better. He had a lot to prove to 32 teams that he could make it back and throw by his pro day. As a result his ACL leg was reported at 97% of his unaffected leg at his pro day, just three short months after his surgery.
Let’s look at the top three organizations in our industry that are considered the gold standard of information. The NSCA, ACSM and National Athletic Trainer Association’s recommendations for proper hydration levels list one gallon per day as a MID RANGE based on the amount of work Zach was performing on a daily basis. Therefore, there is an obvious disconnect between what the most reputable associations are recommending and what the NFL deems appropriate for a “Failed Drug Test.” Perhaps this is why we are seeing a spike in this years offenses.
I understand the need to protect players from foreign substance abuse and am all for random sampling with a goal to deter it’s use for those who abuse them. Although, perhaps a dilute sample should be grounds to re-test within 24 hours rather than waiting until the week of the draft and strategically releasing information lumping those with increased hydration levels with a group who actually have foreign substances in their system. I have reached out to Mark Verstegen, Director of Performance for the NFLPA to discuss this protocol.
Bottom line, he showed up early and stayed late everyday to achieve his results. He was over hydrated. He did not test positive for any drug what so ever. Period.
I’m available to discuss this if anyone has any further questions.
Kevin Dunn, CEO
TEST Football Academy