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Wellington basketball player banned for a year, after taking banned medication

Press Release – Drug Free Sport NZ
Wellington Saints basketball player Jordan Mills has been banned from all sport for 12 months after testing positive for prohibited asthma medication terbutaline (otherwise known as Bricanyl).

The Sports Tribunal of New Zealand today released their decision after Mr Mills returned a positive test after a National Basketball League (NBL) match on 19 May.

In the hearing earlier this week, Mr Mills promptly admitted intermittently using the inhaler, which contained a prohibited substance, for an ongoing asthma condition. Despite attending Drug Free Sport New Zealand (DFSNZ) education seminars, one as recently as March, Mr Mills was unaware that the medication was prohibited.

Terbutaline is a Beta-2 Agonist which is prohibited at all times on the 2017 Prohibited List. It is used to treat asthma and other pulmonary illnesses, but it also could enhance an athlete’s sports performance.

Although Mr Mills is disappointed at the situation he is in, he accepts that the ban is a result of his failure to personally check that his medication was permitted under the WADA Code.

“It wasn’t good enough that I simply relied on my doctors to ensure that any medications I was prescribed were permitted under the WADA Code,” Mr Mills says. “I should have personally checked my medications and had I done that, I would have known I needed a TUE or to use a different asthma medication.

“It’s disappointing, and I think unfair, that I end up with a ban for legitimate asthma medication longer than many athletes who test positive for illegal substances such as marijuana, but I guess that highlights the importance of checking these things yourself and not relying on others or assuming things will be okay,” he said.

DFSNZ chief executive Nick Paterson agrees that it’s disappointing when an athlete who was not intentionally doping is banned from sport for not doing the basics expected of someone competing in a national competition.

“Mr Mills should have known better, having attended an anti-doping education seminar earlier this year and having competed in the NBL for a number of years in New Zealand. He has been tested before and knows about the resources available to him.

“Our role at DFSNZ is to uphold the World Anti-Doping Code, and athletes and their support personnel need to do their part too, fulfilling their responsibility to check every year whether or not their medication is permitted in sport.
“The majority of these inadvertent cases over the past few years demonstrates that we need to continue to work closely with National Sports Organisations in providing education for their athletes to help them understand their anti-doping responsibilities,” Mr Paterson says.

DFSNZ provides anti-doping seminars to NBL teams and players annually and all DFSNZ resources available at these seminars specifically mention terbutaline as a banned substance in and out of competition.

Athletes are required to apply for a TUE to use prohibited substances, if no other alternative medication is available.

The one-year ban has been backdated to the day of the sample collection on 19 May, due to Mr Mills’ prompt admission.

The World Anti-Doping Code:
The ‘Code’ is the fundamental and universal document upon which the World Anti-Doping Programme in sport is based. Over six hundred sporting organisations are signatories to the Code (last updated in 2015) including National Anti-Doping Organisations, International Federation’s and Major Event Organisation’s. Code acceptance means that a sport organisation agrees to the principles of the Code and agrees to implement and comply with the Code.

§ The purpose of the Code and the World Anti-Doping Programme are:
– To protect the athletes’ fundamental right to participate in doping-free sport, whereby promoting health, fairness and equality for athletes worldwide
– To ensure harmonised, coordinated and effective anti-doping programmes at the national and international level with regards to detection, deterrence and prevention in doping.

About DFSNZ:
§ DFSNZ is New Zealand’s national anti-doping organisation committed to protecting and promoting a culture of clean sport.
§ We implement New Zealand’s Sports Anti-Doping Rules, which reflect the World Anti-Doping Code and includes the Prohibited List, published annually. We help athletes to understand and follow these rules and take action against those who break these rules.

§ Our work comprises three key components:
– education through athlete resources, outreach programmes, seminars and research
– regulation through our testing and investigations programme
– influence to help create a culture of clean sport in New Zealand and to ensure anti-doping rules reflect the needs of our athletes.

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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