IRFU sends warning after Blackrock player handed one-year ban
The Irish rugby players' representative body, IRUPA, believes that imposing severe bans for anti-doping rule violations is essential to combating the problem and says players have to take responsibility for their own use of supplements.
The IRFU and Irish Sports Council yesterday announced that Blackrock College player Michael Carroll had been banned for a year after committing an anti-doping rule violation when he tested positive for methylhexaneamine (dimethylpentylamine) in a urine sample collected on October 1.
The former Connacht player pleaded guilty to ingesting the substance contained in an energy drink, but stresses that he did so inadvertently.
The disciplinary panel accepted there was no intent to enhance performance on Carroll's part or to mask the use of a performance enhancing substance but imposed the ban under article 2.1 of the Irish anti-doping rules. Carroll is not planning to appeal the suspension, which will rule him out of rugby until September 30 next year.
The IRFU and Irish Sports Council yesterday reminded all athletes to be "extremely vigilant" in their use of supplements, warning that special care should always be taken to ensure these products do not contain banned substances.
That message was echoed by IRFU Player Services Advisor Hamish Adams yesterday, who said it is up to players to know what substances they are putting into their bodies.
"The IRFU are particularly vigilant on this issue and they are right to be," said Adams. "I think the bans have to be severe to serve as a deterrent at all levels because it is not just an issue affecting the professional game. Having testing at club and schools levels is the right way to go.
"Rugby is a very competitive environment and players will always be looking for any little advantage they can get but there has to be extreme caution exercised to ensure incidents like this do not happen.
"It is up to players to only use products that have been sanctioned," he added. "The protocols are there and there is an educational aspect to it. There is a list of acceptable supplements made available to players and only products from that list should be used. (IRFU nutritionist) Ruth Wood-Martin works extensively on this issue and produces a list of acceptable products from reputable manufacturers.
"I have sympathy when it comes to these supplements because there is a cross-contamination issue at the manufacturing level. These products are mixed in huge vats and there is the risk of residue left over from a previous batch which could contain banned elements.
"But it is up to players to take responsibility on this issue and make the right decisions because it is a dangerous area."