Past and present Essendon players were stunned at the line of questioning, which left them concerned their fertility and the health of their unborn children could have been affected as a result of last year's irregular practices at the club. Photo: Pat Scala
The impact of Essendon's supplements program on the players' fertility has come under question as a result of the joint inquiry being run by the AFL and ASADA.
Past and present Essendon players were stunned at the line of questioning, which left them concerned their fertility and the health of their unborn children could have been affected as a result of last year's irregular practices at the club.
Several players, including former Bomber Mark McVeigh, were asked whether they were aware of any potential side effects to their health of the program in which a significant number of players were injected twice a week and also placed on intravenous drips as part of the club's edgy attempt to fast-track on-field success.
AFL Players Association chief Matt Finnis refused to comment on specifics of the joint investigation, which will soon be completed, but said: ''I'm not surprised that players have been angry and concerned. I'm aware of the interviews and I've had my representatives and my lawyers at the meetings.
''Suffice to say we are aware of the matters that have been raised and we have never underplayed the seriousness of this inquiry.''
Several concerned Essendon players still unaware of the exact nature of the drugs and supplements administered to them during last year's program have been urged by the AFL and ASADA to seek independent medical advice.
Fairfax Media is not suggesting the Essendon supplements program has been found to have had any harmful long-term effects on the players, their children or their fertility.
McVeigh, previously scornful of the allegations involving Essendon's ''high-risk'' program, told SEN of his change of heart after being grilled by the AFL and ASADA.
''At times in the interview, I was furious,'' he said.
''I didn't fear for my health but I had questions over what I may or may not have had. As I have said all the way along, I always knew what I was told was ASADA and [World Anti-Doping Agency]-approved. So at the time, if I was given a supplement I knew and have seen that's what it was. But there was some suggestion in my interview that's not what it was. I don't know if that's the case. They are still doing their investigations.''
Veteran player agent Peter Jess said he had sought clarification from the AFL Players Association over potential side effects.
''It is has been speculated but not confirmed that these alleged substances may or may not have an impact on any future generation,'' he said.
''Obviously, it is a concern. If you have a government body raising concerns about this now, it's a reason why they should have workers compensation to protect players.
''I would be concerned first and foremost for the players.
''The concerns raised by McVeigh aren't new … clarification has been sought since late last year of the short- and long-term impacts of these alleged substances.''