Wheelchair Rugby Athlete Suspended for the Presence of a Stimulant



September 24, 2013, Ottawa, ON – September 24, 2013) ISN- The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport (CCES) announced today that Michael Whitehead, a wheelchair rugby athlete, has received a 12-month sanction for an anti-doping rule violation.

The athlete’s urine sample, collected during in-competition doping control during the 2013 Canadian Wheelchair Rugby Championships on May 19, 2013, revealed the presence of cocaine, a prohibited stimulant. In response to the CCES’ notification of the adverse analytical finding, Mr. Whitehead waived his right to a hearing, promptly admitted the anti-doping rule violation, and accepted a 12-month sanction ending May 19, 2014.

Pursuant to the rules of the Canadian Anti-Doping Program (CADP), Mr. Whitehead established that he was at No Significant Fault for the violation and was thus eligible for a reduced sanction, commensurate with his degree of fault. For athletes at No Significant Fault, a 12-month sanction is the minimum sanction available.

The sanction length took into account the athlete’s mental illness and that it was this illness that resulted in the ingestion of a prohibited substance, rather than any intention to achieve a competitive advantage. The athlete, who resides in Bradenton, Florida, is ineligible to participate in any capacity with any sport signatory to the CADP, including training with teammates.

The Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport is an independent, national, not-for profit organization. We recognize that true sport can make a great difference for individuals, communities and our country. We are committed to working collaboratively to activate a values-based and principle-driven sport system; protecting the integrity of sport from the negative forces of doping and other unethical threats; and advocating for sport that is fair, safe and open to everyone.

Scott Harrigan
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