Across football history, there have been several famous signings. FC Barcelona, in particular, made a solid $263 million on signing off Brazilian superstar Neymar Jr., back in 2017. Lets find out about the Messi Growth Hormone here.
While this record-smashing sum might have been one of the club’s greatest achievements, perhaps their most successful player signing was Lionel Messi – considered by many as the greatest player of all time.
Signing his future off to the club at the tender age of 12 – on the back of a paper napkin, if the stories are to be believed – Messi’s story was a truly inspiring rags-to-riches tale that continues in full force, over twenty years later.
However, part of his early career was marred by a considerable growth issue that some debate even today – it nearly cost him his illustrious career decades before he went on to break several world records.
This is the Messi growth hormone story – and we’re going to dive deep into one of football’s most fascinating medical journeys.
Messi Growth Hormone – When and How Was He Diagnosed?
Born to a steel factory manager and a cleaner, Lionel Messi’s origins were famously humble. By the time he could walk around the streets of his hometown in Rosario, Argentina, the young boy was naturally gifted with prodigal skill and unwavering focus when it came to the country’s favorite game.
Seeing promise, his family encouraged the boy to play – as the young Messi demolished team after team of local schoolboys. Soon, he began to attract the attention of local football clubs – and would join the youth division of Newell’s Old Boys.
By the time Messi was 11, however, his dreams hit a serious hurdle. In the year he was diagnosed with Growth Hormone Deficiency – GHD. This threatened to kill his promising career right before it even took off.
Messi Growth Hormone Deficiency: Diagnosis
What the young Messi was diagnosed with was also known as dwarfism or pituitary dwarfism. It usually remains undiagnosed until the early-mid teens, as symptoms only become obvious after early childhood ends.
Most patients with GHD present the following general symptoms:
- Slow or no growth
- Short stature, generally in the bottom 5th percentile of their age and sex groups
- Absent or delayed sexual maturity
On observing these basic symptoms, a doctor will then take limb measurements, review the patient’s medical history, and take detailed blood tests to determine the patient’s growth hormone levels.
They may also take MRI or X-ray scans to determine the condition of the pituitary gland, where growth hormones are naturally synthesized. Messi himself began this process in early 1997 and underwent a year-long diagnosis by a local specialist.
Messi Growth Hormone Deficiency: Treatment
At the time, Messi’s family could not afford the full treatment course, as his father’s medical insurance only covered two years’ worth of GHD treatment. This cost around $1000-$1500 in 1998, and in the wake of an Argentine financial collapse, the football clubs too shied away from supporting him.
That is, until FC Barcelona’s team director, Charly Rexach, decided to step in and take the boy under Barcelona’s wing – despite it being a massively controversial move at the time. Certainly one that paid off, though!
Messi’s actual treatment regimen was very similar to GHD patients today. He would self-administer daily injections of somatropin – a lab synthesized GH substitute that had been used as a GHD treatment since the early 1990s.
This process has become even easier today with the use of convenient and accessible pen-style devices.
In Messi’s own words:
“It was like cleaning my teeth. In the beginning, when people saw me doing my injections, they asked what was going on. But they eventually got used to it. It wasn’t really a chore and I knew it was important for my future. And I was responsible. Especially about anything having to do with football.”
The Messi growth hormone treatment would continue for around four years. As the young football star used the medication, his body would functionally do the following:
- It would transport the injected somatropin through his bloodstream, until it eventually reached his liver.
- Messi’s liver would then release a second hormone called insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) into his bloodstream.
- Following this, both hormones would interact with bones, muscles, and other tissue and encourage the growth of more cells – boosting his natural growth rate to normal levels.
Finally, by around the year 2000, Messi had grown to 170 centimeters – still on the short side, but perfectly normal according to Argentine male height averages.
After undergoing rigorous testing, he was approved by the team and finally went on to make history as his club and country’s greatest player.
Messi Growth Hormone: Conclusion
There are few people like Lionel Messi in the world, that’s for sure. Lightning quick and dangerously talented on the pitch, he’s gone on to inspire millions around the world – from other big-name footballers to young kids with potential, just like him.
The Messi growth hormone story is an interesting and important one in the world of both football and GHD treatment, and perhaps one of the best case studies of how growth hormone treatment can literally transform lives.
GH deficiency prevents many people around the world from realizing their full potential – whether they’re looking to compete on the top level of a sport or even just feel taller, stronger, and more confident in themselves.
If you’re looking to consider a GH treatment for yourself, please browse the information and catalog here.