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See Inside Scientific American Volume 308, Issue 2

A Dangerous Game: Some Athletes Risk Untested Stem Cell Treatments

Some professional athletes' enthusiasm for certain stem cell treatments outpaces the evidence

The ebbing summer of 2012 found Nitkowski working on a new sidearm delivery with a Minor League Mets team, still hoping to return to the Majors as a 40-year-old in 2013. Meanwhile the professional story of Colón, now an Oakland Athletic, entered a darker chapter on August 22, 2012, rendering his experiment with stem cells moot. The 39-year-old's season ended that day when Major League Baseball officials suspended him for 50 games—because he tested positive for the performance-enhancing drug synthetic testosterone. On November 3 the Oakland A's gave Colón a $3-million, one-year contract extension, which begins as soon as his suspension ends.

This article was originally published with the title "A Dangerous Game."

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