By Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News
A Fultondale business owner denies any wrongdoing after being thrown into the national spotlight this week.
Mitch Ross, owner of Sports With Alternative to Steroids (S.W.A.T.S.), is being accused of providing a banned substance to college and NFL athletes.
Ross freely admits, in numerous media reports, that he has given S.W.A.T.S. Ultimate Spray to players, and is even proud of the fact. He has also provided it to Major League Baseball and PGA athletes.
The spray is made from New Zealand deer antler velvet, and contains IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1), which the NFL and other organizations have banned.
However, Ross insists that the spray is legal, saying it contains natural and not synthetic IGF-1. He said only the synthetic substance is the illegal, banned substance.
Ross did not create the spray; there are many brands of products containing IGF-1. He also sells tablets that contain deer antler, and thus IGF-1.
His company grabbed headlines this week following the publication of a Sports Illustrated article that said Ross and his partner Christopher Key sold S.W.A.T.S. Ultimate Spray, tablets and other products to Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, after Lewis was injured during a game in October.
The article stated that Lewis took the products in order to heal more quickly from surgery after he tore his triceps in a game against the Dallas Cowboys.
Lewis has strongly denied using S.W.A.T.S. products, but Ross continues to insist that he did use them.
Ross also claims that football players from the University of Alabama, Auburn University, Ole Miss, LSU and other universities have used his products.
Universities are distancing themselves from S.W.A.T.S. Many have reportedly sent cease and desist letters in an attempt to stop Ross from using the names of their universities and players in order to promote his products.
S.W.A.T.S. Health and Fitness Center is located on Decatur Highway in Fultondale.
Ross was unavailable for comment for this article.