The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Navy Seal recruits using steroids to get through Hell Week commando test

- By Susie Coen Us Correspond­ent

NAVY Seal recruits have been turning to steroids to help them pass the brutal Hell Week commando selection test, an official report has found.

The inquiry was launched following the death of Kyle Mullen, 24, who collapsed and died of acute pneumonia hours after completing the five-and-ahalf-day test last year.

The test, called Hell Week, is the toughest training in the US military. It sees applicants endure gruelling training on fewer than four hours of sleep.

A 200-page report by the Naval Education and Training Command found candidates felt pressured to use performanc­e-enhancing drugs to help them keep going and would push themselves and not tell medical staff or leaders about injuries.

Candidates had interprete­d a comment made by one of Mr Mullen’s instructor­s made as implicit endorsemen­t of using the drugs.

He told the class that those who graduate include “steroid monkeys and skinny strong guys. Don’t use PEDS, it’s cheating, and you don’t need them. And whatever you do, don’t get caught with them in your barracks room”.

The use of performanc­e-enhancing drugs has been a persistent problem. Investigat­ions in 2011, 2013 and 2018 into suspected steroid use by Seal candidates led to requests for enhanced testing. While there was no evidence

Mr Mullen had taken performanc­eenhancing drugs, he had an enlarged heart that contribute­d to his death.

According to the report, Mr Mullen told his mother that he was thinking about buying some performanc­eenhancing drugs, “because he did not want to be at a disadvanta­ge since many other candidates were taking PEDS”.

It said his mother encouraged him not to. Following his death, vials and syringes of drugs were found in his car and his phone had text messages discussing their use and attempts to buy them.

Barracks are subject to routine inspection­s, which the report said were done about once a week during Mr Mullen’s class.

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